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"The Lake Dwellings of Ireland; 
The Rude Stone Monuments of Ireland (County Sligo) ; 

" Shall we tread the dust of ages, 

Musing dream-like on the past, 
Seeking on the broad earth's pages 
For the shadows Time hath cast.' 






or IRELAND (Co. SLIGO)" contains all the informa- 
tion that the writer could gather concerning the 
local megalithic structures of primitive antiquity scattered 
throughout the district. Next comes " The History of Sligo, 
County and Town," which, beginning at the legendary period, 
carries the recital down to the close of the Eeign of Queen 

The second part of this work, starting from the accession 
of James I., continues the narration almost to the close of the 
17th century; and from that date, the present volume carries 
it on to the times in which we now live. Much of the 
information herein contained has been extracted from old 
newspapers, pamphlets, and publications of every sort relating 
to the district. Many interesting details have been kindly 
furnished by friends who, either from long residence or family 
connexion with the county, became well acquainted with the 
traditions still current in many rural localities. For those 
whose homes are in the district of which this history treats, 
it can scarcely fail to be of interest to know how their imme- 
diate forefathers lived, and how our various institutions grew 
up and developed. It is hoped that, after perusal of this 
volume, the reader when laying it down may have a feeling 


of more lively interest and more earnest love for the County 
and Town of Sligo. The district possesses, in one respect, a 
unique characteristic, for there is no resident nobleman within 
its bounds, nor has any nobleman a residence in it. There 
appears to be no other county in Ireland similarly circum- 

There remains to the writer the pleasant duty of acknow- 
ledging the assistance rendered by the numerous officials who, 
in their various departments, supplied much information which 
could not otherwise have been obtained. William Frazer, 
F.R.C.S.I., furnished the impressions from which the Sligo 
merchant tokens were engraved. 

Some of the illustrations are reproduced, by different pro- 
cesses, from photographs by J. J. Nelson ; the wood engravings 
are by Alfred Oldham ; the coloured map at the end of the 
volume is reproduced by permission of George Philip & Son. 


December, 1891. 























SLIGO, 427 














INDEX, 500 




,, 2, 3. BUTTONS OF SLIGO VOLUNTEERS, 1782, . . ,,12 

,, 4, ORNAMENT OF YEOMANRY, 1796, . . . . ,,12 



MILITIA, ,, 14 





SLIGO, . ,,H6 

,, 12. THE SLIGO MACE, ,, 118 




15. SEAL OF THE CORPORATION OF SLIGO, 1723, . . ,,121 




1806-1810, ,,22 






,, 23. ABBEY OF SLIGO, ^8 




27. THE TOWN HALL, SLIGO, ,, 152 

,, 28. THE ASSIZE COURTS, SLIGO, . . . 156 


,, 30. TOKEN STRUCK BY JOHN SMITH, . . . . ,, 172 

31. TOKEN STRUCK BY WILL. HUNTER, . . . . 172 




,, 35. PLAN OF THE STORAGE RESERVOIR, . . . ,, 186 


CRANNOG, ,, 197 


SIDE CAR, ,, 207 


MOTE, ....,, 222 

,, 41. OLD LOOM STILL IN USE, ,, 244 

,, 42. GOLD- COPPED FIB OLA, ,, 247 





PORTION OF LOUGH GILL, . . . , . . ,,272 

i, 46. THE OLD "BLACK LION 5 ' INN, . . . . 338 

47. RUSH-LIGHT HOLDER, ....... 344 



,, 50. " THE WELL OF ASSISTANCE," 355 





ft 53. STRAINING STONE, &C., KILLERY, . . . . ,, 364 

,, 54. ALTAR SLAB, TOOMOUR, ,, 365 

,, 55. ALTAR AND STONES, TOOMOUR, . . . ' . ,, 306 
ARAGHT, ,, 367 

,, 58. SPECIMENS OF CROSSES, CO. SLIGO, . . ,, 370 

,, 59. CROSS AT KILTURHA, ,, 371 



,, 61. "THE PIPER OF SLIGO," ,, 398 

,, 62. HEADING OF ''THE SLIGO JOURNAL," NO. 705, VOL. VII., ,, 404 



























HE effects of the internecine strife which had 
lasted from 1688 to 1691 were visible all over 
the County of Sligo ; fields lay uncultivated and 
waste ; numbers of horses had died, or been worn 
as troop or baggage animals, and cattle were 
scarce; wherever the desolation of war had spread, 
the houses of the gentry and the cottages of the poor 
were in ruins. The unfortunate inhabitants who had joined 
neither of the rival parties under arms had to contribute to the 
support, now of the one side, now of the other, according as the 
fortunes of the contest fluctuated, and those who had fled were 
subjected to confiscation of their goods by the adherents of 
James. Alexander Irwin of Tanrego nicknamed " The 

Fox" 1 was compelled to leave his wife and family in Sligo, 
. . . 

1 This sobriquet of " The Fox" may perhaps throw light on the Latin 
inscription over the entrance of the old house of Longford (vide ante, Book I. 
p. 116), to the effect that it was " the safe retreat of John Henry (Crofton) 
and his yellow-haired Fox"; and as the Croftons and the Irwins resided in 
close neighbourhood, what more likely than that the Crofton above alluded 
to had married a Miss Irwin. 

The following statement of the doctrine of image- worship may be 
observed in the quaint little chapel, situated in the grounds of Longford, 



but when trying to make their escape from the County they 
were captured by Sir Teigue O'Began, who observed, " Though 
the Fox has escaped I have got the cubs." Mrs. Irwin was 
detained prisoner in a fort at Strandhill, where she found 
herself obliged to part with everything belonging to her, even 
to her wedding ring, in order to procure bread for her children. 
At the close of the struggle many Protestants found themselves 
ruined ; their money became exhausted from the pressure on 
their own resources whilst the war was being carried on. 
Each side seemed to understand perfectly the art of carrying 
on the struggle, if possible, at the cost of their adversaries, and 
the annexed correspondence will be found amusing from the 
statement of the mode in which repayment was made : 

" The peticon of Capt n Hugh M'Dermott To the Rt Honno ble Coll. 
Patt. Sarsfield Command' in Chefe of his mat 8 fforces in Connought, 
and to y e Honno ble Coll. Henry Dillon, L d Leut. of the County of Sligo. 

" Sheweth that yo r petio r uppon yo r Honno" encourdagm* and 
pmise of reimburssinge yo r petio r did subsist his company for five 
weekes in the Garizon of Sligo, and bought for y e s d Company sixty 
eight eoates, sixty eight hatts, sixty eight paire of shooes, and sixty 
eight paire of stokens, that yo r petio r to serve his mat ie and please yo r 
Honno" was fforced to borrow from severall psons ye most p 1 of ye 
monys layd out by him for ye uses affors d and is duly duned for y e s d 
mony to yo r petio r * great discredit and disaduantage if not soone 
reluied by yo r Honnor 8 . 

"May it therefore please yo r Honnor 8 tenderly to consider y e pmisses 
and yo r one ffaithfull pmisse to ord r some course whereby yo r petio r may 
be reimburssed and payd of his mony, w ch amounts to one hundred 
and three pounds sti* as by the accompt underneath more at lardge may 
appear and yo r petio r shall ever pray, & c . 

"Itf ffiue weeks subsistance, . 55 00 00 

Sixty eight coates, . . . 32 12 4 

Sixty eight paire of stokens, 3 8 00 

Sixty eight paire of pumps, 3 8 00 

Sixty eight hatts, . . . 8 14 00" 

already fully described: Nam Deus est quod imago docet, sed non Deus 
ipsa, hanc cernas sed mente colas quod cernis in ipsa"; which maybe 
translated : " For God is what the image teaches us, but the image itself is 
not God; you see the image, but you worship in your mind what vou 
discern in it." J 


"To Capt n JOHN BTJEKE. 

" The contents of y e above petition is recomended to y u by Coll. 
Sarsfield, who desires y u will out of y e effects y u have in y e hands of 
y e Kings satisfy y e aboue sume to Cap tn Hugh M'Dermott. Dated at 
Bondrowes y e 20 of May (16)89. 


" Dear Jack, be sure y u doe what y u can for y e prince who was y u 
know at greate expense and youl oblidge y r aff. brot r ." 

" Pursuant to Coll. Sarsfields orders I doe impower Capt n Hugh 
M'Derruott to disposse and make usse of the goods and Chattels of 
George Allcocke or other absentees goods in his custody by vertue of 
any former orders, to the value of the sume in the within Pett iom . 
Datted this 22 th of May (16)89. 

"Jo: BURKE. 

" (Endorsed) The humble peticon of Capt n Hugh M'Dermott." 

The MacDermotts, then and long subsequently, were one of 
the few families that kept up the appellation of an ancient Irish 
Chieftain. Young, in his Tour through Ireland in the latter 
portion of the 18th century, thus alludes to it : 

"Another great family in Connaught is Mac Derm ott, who calls 
himself ' Prince of Coolavin ' ; he lives at Coolavin in Sligo, and 
though he has not above 100 a year, will not admit his children to 
sit down in his presence. This was certainly the case with his father, 
and some assured me, even with the present Chief. Lord Kingsborough, 
Mr. Ponsonby, Mr. O'Hara, Mr. Sandf ord, & e , came to see him, and his 
address was curious : ' O'Hara, you are welcome ; Sandford I am glad 
to see your mother's son (his mother was an O'Brian) ; as to the rest 
of ye, come in as you can ! " 

The sufferers through injuries inflicted by the three years 
of constant strife sought compensation from Parliament, 
but sought in vain ; ten thousand pounds was voted, but never 
given, nor indeed could a sum so small have been of any real 
service, so numerous were the applicants. 

The incessant strife had so accustomed the people to an 
unsettled state of life that they were unwilling to resume 
steady pursuits of any kind. Accustomed to obtain all the 
necessaries of life by plunder and violence, the majority of the 





peasantry neglected the culture of the soil, while some took to 
open robbery and gave themselves up to a system of predatory 
warfare, 1 and as nearly all the Protestant yeomen had been 
either in the militia or regular army, military life had inspired 
" distaste for the occupations in which they had formerly 
-gaged; they were unwilling to work, and inclined to depend 
more on the aid expected from Parliament than on their own 

Some kind of local military organization must have existed 
in Sligo prior to the Eevolution of 1688, otherwise it would be 
difficult to account for the celerity with which the Protestants 
of the county had been concentrated, armed, and disciplined. 
These men were in great part descendants of members of Colonel 
Eichard Coote's Eegiment of Horse, Colonel Sir Charles Coote's 
Eegiment of Horse, and his Eegiment of Foot. Numerous 
statements with regard to these regiments are to be found 
amongst the public records, but one entry relating to Cornet 
Cooper will suffice. It recites that " the Claym* purchased y e 
Debentures hereafter mentioned from y e persones hereunder, 
and after named, whose Lotts fell in y e county of Sligoe, in 
Coll. Coote's owne Eegim* and Troope"; he also purchased lots 
in Sir Charles Coote's Eeg*. Sir Oliver St. George's Troope " as 
well as in Sir Charles Coote's Eegm* of ffoote." The various 
detachments from the above-named corps appear to have been 
stationed in Sligo until lands were allotted to them, and they 
exchanged the sword for the ploughshare. In the column of 
remarks in "the Book of Survey and Distribution" several 
denominations of land are annoted " Trustees for y e Barracks." 

"Sir Eichard Coote's Eegiment of Horse (now y e L d . 
Collooney's Eegt.") From this entry 2 it would appear that 
the Eegiment, although disbanded, was liable to be called up 

1 These vagrant robbers were designated Rapparees, an Irish word stated 
to have signified a pole or broken beam, resembling a half -pike the weapon 
with which the majority of these brigands were armed. 

2 Here is another entry of like nature: "Quarter Master E. J. Byrne 
Q r . M. to Maior John Kings troope (nowe L d . of Kingston) in the now IA 
Collooney's Reg 4 ." 



for service, for it was disembodied about 1655, and Coote was 
not created Baron Collooney until September, 1660. 

Eichard, eldest son of the 1st Baron, espoused the cause of 
William III. In 1689 he was appointed Treasurer and Receiver 
General to Queen Mary, and was created Earl of Bellamont. 
In the year following he was made Governor of New England 
and New York, and also Admiral of those seas, where he 
captured the notorious pirate, Captain William Kidd. In 
1701 he died in America, and was succeeded in the title by 
his son Nansan, who died in 1708, and was succeeded by his 
brother Eichard. In the year 1800, on the death of Charles 
Coote, without issue male, the title became extinct. 

The following is the muster roll of the officers of Col. Sir 
Eichard Coote's Eegiment of Horse : 

Major John King (now L d of Kingston) ; Q.M. E. J. Byrne. 

Sir Richard Cootes own troop : Cornet Edward Cooper ; Q. M. C. 

Captain Robert Morgan : Cornet Thomas Wood; Q. M. Henry "Beven. 

Captain Francis King : L* James King ; Cornet Edmond Nicholson ; 
Q,. M. Thomas Harloe or Harle. 

Captain Thomas Hart : L* Michael Pockeredge. 

Captain Robert Oliver : L* Pockeredge ; Cornet Henry Hughes. 

Captain Lewis Jones : Cornet John Thorneton ; Q. M. Nicholas 

" Ingeneere" "William Webb. 

Surgeon and Ensign John Nicholson. 

Surgeon's mate : Henry Nicholson. 

Henry Nicholson was " chirurgeon " not only to this Eegi- 
ment but also to Sir Charles Coote's Eegiment of Horse and Sir 
William Cole's Eegiment of Foot. Henry Nicholson is also 
described in a contemporaneous document " as administrator to 
his brother, William Nicholson ; as chirurgeon's-mate to Coll. 
Eichard Coote's Eegiment of Horse and as Trooper in Capt. 
Francis King's troope": 

Col. Sir Charles Cootes Regiment ; (Earl of Mountrath.) 
Sir Charles Cootes own troop : Capt William Ormsby, Capt Lt. 
Captain John Ormbsy : L*. Thomas Ormsby ; Cornet Philip Ormsby ; 
Q,. M. Anthony Ormsby. 


Captain Charles Ormsby : Cornet George Ormsby. 
Surgeon and Ensign John Nicholson ; Cornet Edmond Nicholson. 
Col. Sir Charles Coote's Regiment of Foot (now y e Earl of 

Captain Robert Parke ; Ensign David Linehian 
Captain Charles Colles ; L 1 . Markey. 

This list of officers can be further extended by reference to 
the "Book of Survey and Distribution," as well as to the 
census made circa 1659, probably by Dr. W. Petty, and which 
is one of the few documents extant in which the designation of 
" Titulado " occurs. By the term " Titulado " is supposed to 
be meant a person claiming to be entitled to land, but whose 
claim not having been yet decided on was thereby rendered 
titular in point of fact. 1 (See Appendix A.) 

From the commencement of the Revolution of 1688 until 
the surrender of Sligo by Sir Teigue O'Kegan in lb'91, there 
could have been no body of local militia stationed within the 
County, as every male capable of bearing arms was either 
engaged in the ranks of the Enniskilleners or supporting the 
cause of James II. It seems evident, however, that a local 
force for Sligo has existed, it may be said, almost from the first 
settlement of the County. This force was embodied in 1715 
and again in 1745 ; in May, 1747, the following notice occurs 
in a newspaper of the day : 

"We hear from Sligoe, that the agreeable news of Admiral 
Anson's success against the French occasioned the greatest rejoicing 
that was ever known in that town ; the Gentlemen assembled under 
arms and marched from the Parade to the Quay, where after firing 
three vollies with the greatest exactness (as it was a marine stroke), 
they repaired on board the vessels there, when they drank the King, 
with all the loyal toasts, the brave Anson and Warren, and many more 
suitable to the occasion. The night ended with bonfires, illuminations, 
and other demonstrations of the greatest joy, and the next night the 
Gentlemen of the town entertained the Ladies with a ball at the 

1 Such is the opinion of John P. Prendergast, the author of The Crom- 
wellian Settlement of Ireland, and of J. J. Digges-Latouche, the Deputy 
Keeper of the Records. 


Town House, where the well-affected fair ones assembled by beat of 
drum, and shewed a spirit no way short of their sister "Whiggs in the 
year 1715, described by the great Mr. Addison." 

In September of the same year a letter from Sligo describes 
an engagement off the coast in which three English merchant- 
men beat off a Spanish privateer. 

In a private account book (1755) belonging to a gentleman 
of the County, there stands the following entry : " May 1. To 
y e Militia boys to buy powder 2s. 2d." The Militia were 
assembled in 1759, in 1760, 1761, 1762, and 1763. Mention is 
made of them again from 1778 to 1783 ; during this latter 
period, however, the Irish Volunteers were also in existence, 
and it is difficult to distinguish whether the casual allusions met 
with really bear reference to the Volunteers or the Militia. 

According to a map of the year 1766 there were four 
military barracks in the town of Sligo : " The old stone fort " 
or "Foot Barracks and yard"; the present barracks, then styled 
the " Strand Barracks" for cavalry and capable of accommodating 
" 7 officers and 96 non-commissioned officers and privates, with 
stabling for 60 horses, and an excellent hospital annexed " ; the 
" Middle Barracks " on the right side of Holborn-street, and 
the " Horse Barracks " which appear to have occupied the site 
of the present brewery near the upper bridge. Small detach- 
ments of troops were also stationed at Collooney, Ballymote, 
and Kilmacteige. The latter barracks were given up as early as 

At a critical epoch, when America was lost to the Crown of 
England, and the Irish coasts lay open to the descent of a 
foreign foe, the Volunteers, a body of 100,000 men, self-clothed, 
self-disciplined, and without pay discharged the duties of the 
army. Unfortunately they afterwards turned their attention to 
politics, upon which rock they made shipwreck. At first from 
the octogenarian to the schoolboy all sprang to arms, several 
cadet corps being formed from the various schools in the town 
and county. 

AmoDgst the facetiae of the day, it is narrated that at a 
meeting convened by public notice it was agreed to form a 


Volunteer corps, but a proviso was added that it should not 
be compelled to quit the kingdom. A wag in the crowd sugges- 
tively adding : " except in case of invasion ! 3 

" The Sligo Volunteers " were commanded by Mr. Wynne. 
The Right Hon. Henry King was one of the twelve "Generals " 
elected by the Volunteers, and was one of the delegates who 
met at Dungannon, 15th February, 1782. He also raised and 
commanded " The Ballina and Ardnaree Loyal Volunteers," 
associated (t. e. raised) 1st July, 1779. " The Liney Volunteers " 
were associated in 1778 ; their uniform was scarlet faced with 
blue. They were commanded by Major George Dodwell. Lt- 
Col. Ormsby was in command of the " Sligo Loyal Volunteers " 
raised May 25th, 1779, the uniform scarlet, faced white. 
Provincial reviews were held by the Volunteers, the various 
corps being fully provided with all necessary camp equipment. 

One of the largest of these reviews was held near Sligo in 
1781, and the order in which the various corps were drawn up 
is here given. The details of the manoeuvres which occupy 
sixteen pages of the pamphlet 1 are omitted, but some items are 
curious ; for instance, officers still carried " fusils," and when 
saluting the inspecting general, "the officers wearing hats 
(except those on horseback) will take off their hats; the cap- 
officers will put their hands to their caps." 

"The cavalry to be formed into one squadron; the infantry into 
two regiments; the whole forming one brigade. The several corps 
to take post according to seniority ; the eldest corps on the right of 
the first regiment ; the second corps on the right of the second regi- 
ment ; the third corps on the left of the first regiment ; the fourth 
corps on the left of the second regiment ; and so on until the whole is 
formed. The Grenadiers and light infantry of the eldest corps to be 
posted to the first regiment; the Grenadiers and light infantry of the 
other corps to the second regiment. The colours of the two corps 
nearest the centre of each regiment to be used ; the other corps who 
have colours will carry them to the field. The eldest Colonel will 
ommand the brigade as Brigadier-General; the eldest Lieutenant- 
' l and Ma 3 r of each regiment to act in their stations to the 

1 Plan of a review to be held near Sligo on Thursday, the 19th July 
next, 1781. 

\_To face page 8. 



regiments they belong to ; the acting Major of each regiment to be 
mounted ; the Lieutenant- Colonel on foot. The line to be drawn up 
two deep ; the cavalry 15 paces to the right of the first regiment; the 
second regiment 15 paces to the left of the first. Each regiment to be 
divided into 8 battalion sub -divisions, 4 grand divisions, and 2 wings. 
In the firings and manoeuvres the regiments will act independently. 
The sub-divisions will be numbered, beginning with the right and 
ending with the left of regiments. The Captains and subalterns 
4 paces in front of the front rank; field officers on foot 3 paces in 
front of the Captains and subalterns ; the Majors on horseback on the 
right of their respective regiments, dressing with the front rank of 
Grenadiers, and will march at their head in passing the GENERAL. No 
drums to beat but those belonging to the regiment the General is 
immediately passing, except in the general salute, when the whole 
beat off together. The Brigadier-General will appoint an adjutant to 
receive his orders, and act under him." 

The manoeuvres, which were of a most intricate character, 
comprised the attack on a bridge and the passage of a river by 
the brigade. 

There was again a review in August, 1782, and another 
took place in 1785. Volunteering was also carried on for the 

There was great jealousy entertained by the regular troops 
towards the Volunteers. " The former affected to view their 
unpaid comrades in the same light the merchant does the 
contrabandist, as unlicensed dealers in arms ; jealousy and 
envy of their equipments and personal appearance might have 
been probably material sources of this bad feeling, as the 
Volunteers were splendidly appointed, and formed undoubtedly 
a considerable portion of the elite of Irishmen." 

The following were the Delegates from the County Sligo 
who composed part of the National Convention of the Volun- 
teers : General the Rt. Hon. Henry King, E,t. Hon. Joshua 
Cooper, Colonel O'Hara, Eobert Lyons, Esq., Major Greorge 

A few resolutions passed by the various Sligo Volunteer 
corps are added as specimens of the manner in which political 
agitation was carried on at the close of the 18th century. 



"On parade assembled the 4th of March, 1782, unanimously came 
to the following Resolution : 

" That, as citizens and soldiers, we do heartily approve of the 
Dungannon address to the minority of both houses of parliament, and 
do most cheerfully adopt these resolutions of the 15th of February last, 
for obtaining a redress of grievances, and that we will to the utmost of 
our power, co-operate with them and the several volunteer corps of 
this Kingdom for so desirable a purpose. 

" JOHN ORMSBY, Lieut. Col. 

" Ordered that the above resolutions be published in the Dublin 
Evening Post, and Sligo Journal." 

On the 15th March, 1782, a deputation of Volunteer Officers 
from the County Sligo (i.e. Colonel Charles O'Hara, Colonel 
Sir B. Gore Bt., Colonel Lewis F. Irwin, Lt.-Colonel John 
Orrasby), attended the great meeting of Connaught Volunteers 
at Ballinasloe, at which were assembled delegates from fifty- 
nine volunteer corps of the province. 


" At a Meeting of the Gentlemen Freeholders of the County of 
Sligo, convened by the High Sheriff, April, 1, 1782, 

" GEORGE DODWELL, ESQ., High Sheriff, in the Chair, 
1 'The following Resolutions were unanimously agreed to : 
" 1st. That the resolutions entered into by the Delegates assembled 
at Dungannon and Ballinasloe, by the Volunteer associations, and since 
approved of by the different meetings of several other corps and 
Counties of this Kingdom, are such as ought to be adopted by every 
the just rights, privileges, liberties, and commerce of Ireland. 

" 2l ! d ;~~ That we wil1 ^pport, with our lives and fortunes, all the 

just rights and privileges of this Kingdom, and that we will use our 

it endeavours to promote peace, harmony, and good order in this 

>untry, and that we will co-operate with all the other counties in 

Deir g attfr2th th v t l ian !' 8 n thi8 meeting be given to the different 
from the Volunteer Corps of this county who attended the 
meeting at Ballinasloe on the 15th of March last 


4th. That these resolutions, unanimously approved of, be 
published three times in the Dublin Evening Post and Sligo Journal. 

" 5th. That the thanks of this meeting be given to the High 
Sheriff for his cheerful compliance with our request, in convening 
the County, and for his polite and candid conduct in the chair. 

" GEORGE DODWELL, Sheriff." 1 

Yery similar resolutions were passed at a meeting of " The 
Ballina and Ardnaree Volunteers," held 28th March, Lt. Eobert 
Jones in the chair ; likewise at a meeting of " The first Tyreril 
True Blues," held at Collooney, April 1, 1782, the Eev. John 
Little in the chair, to which the following was added : " The 
chief wish of our hearts is to clasp our sister nation to our 
bosom and cement an indissoluble union between us, attached to 
her by every tie of affection and interest that can unite nations ; 
surrounded as she is by an host of enemies we are resolved to 
share her liberty and share her fate." Owing, however, to the 
conduct of the affairs of the Volunteers throughout the king- 
dom having fallen unto revolutionary hands, their old leaders 
abandoned them. 

To prevent disturbances, and with the approbation of most 
of the supporters of the constitution of 1782, the regular army 
was largely increased, and the militia embodied. The Govern- 
ment finally ordered that all meetings of the Volunteers should 
be, if necessary, dispersed by force. 

Prior to the year 1790, Protestants and Roman Catholics in 
Sligo lived on very good terms. Colonel Irwin in his examina- 
tion before the Committee of the House of Commons on the 
state of Ireland said : 

"I was very much thrown into the society of Roman Catholics. 
My father when he was in the Prussian Service acquired a facility of 
speaking Latin. He was a very good linguist, and it was a great 
gratification to him to get anyone that could speak Latin and foreign 
languages, and he used to have the priests, who from their foreign 
education possessed that facility, constantly resorting to his house. 
Under these circumstances, even though a boy, I was not without 
observation, I can say that during that time there was a much greater 

1 History of Volunteering, 1782, C. H. Wilson. 


cordiality, much greater intercourse and familiarity between the two 
sects than exists at this time. The first tone that was given to 
Protestant feeling adverse to the Catholics was in the year 1793 at 
the time of the Defenders." 

In the spring of 1794, Sligo was much disturbed by the 
" Defenders "a secret society amongst the Eoman Catholics, 
which spread throughout the County with astonishing rapidity 
and at the assizes many were convicted of robbing houses 
of arms and of administering unlawful oaths. In consequence 
of these outrages the Earl of Carhampton by instructions 
from Government visited Sligo for the purpose of restoring 
social order ; the execution of the laws being there impeded by 
a system of terror. In most places visited by him he found 
that a leader of disturbance, who assumed the feigned name of 
Captain Stout, had so greatly intimidated the people of the 
neighbourhood, that persons who had sustained injury were 
afraid to prosecute, and magistrates were deterred from en- 
forcing justice. Some informers had been murdered, and 
others dreading the same fate forfeited their recognizances in 
order to avoid giving evidence. 

An active and intelligent magistrate of the County stated 
that the priest of a certain parish in Sligo had advised bim to 
remain a passive spectator of these outrages, as otherwise he 
would be murdered ; and much the same information was given 
by Mr. Perceval of Templehouse. 

Lord Carhampton found that in the counties which he 
visited the laws were inoperative, and that they did not afford 
protection to loyal and peaceable subjects, who in most places 
were obliged to fly from their habitations ; he consequently 
resolved to restore order by decisive measures, and in the 
following year the loyal inhabitants and the Grand Jury of 
Sligo thanked Lord Carhampton for bis wise and salutary 

In the autumn of 1796 Government proposed that in 
addition to the Militia all loyal subjects should embody 
themselves into corps similar to those already formed in 
England, and subject to the control of the proper authorities ; 

[To face page 12. 

Fig. 2. 

Fig. 3. 

Fig. 4. 

Fig. 5. 


[Figs. 2, 3, 5, fuU size ; Fig. 4, half size.] 


such was the origin of the yeomanry ; but in order to avoid tlie 
embarrassments which had arisen under the old Volunteer 
system, in which the men elected their own officers, the new 
yeomanry were commissioned by the Crown. 

The mania for military service seized upon all ranks and 
classes amongst the Protestant population ; in some rare 
instances clergymen so far forgot their position as to accept 
commissions in the yeomanry, but as was well remarked by a 
contemporaneous writer " a clergyman, alternately arrayed in 
the surplice of a parson and the uniform of an officer, may 
very innocently transpose his spiritual and temporal functions, 
become pastoral in the field and pugnacious in the pulpit." 
The yeomanry, however, which consisted almost entirely of 
Protestants, wrung from a reluctant witness the admission that 
during the subsequent rebellion of 1798 they distinguished 
themselves " by steadiness, bravery, and perseverance." These 
bodies of armed men, varying in number and military organi- 
zation, were styled " District Corps," and as regards the County 
Sligo the following is a complete list of the officers of the three 
infantry and four cavalry corps first raised : 


Rank. Name. Date of Commission. 

Captain, . . James Bridgeham, . 31st Oct. 1796 
1st Lieutenant, . Richard Gethin, . ,, ,, 

2nd Lieutenant, . James Mother well, . ,, ,, 


Captain, . . Owen Wynne, . . 31st Oct. 1796 
1st Lieutenant, . Andrew Parke, . . ,, ,, 

2nd Lieutenant, . Eobert Manley, . . ,, ,, 


Captain, . . Charles O'Hara, . . 31st Oct. 1796 
1st Lieutenant, . Harloe Knott, . . ,, ,, 

2nd Lieutenant, . Owen Phibbs, . . ,, ,, 

1 The command of a corps of yeomanry appears to have entailed some 
considerable expense, if the following extract from The Sligo Journal be an 
example of the usual custom of the day: "On Tuesday last (18th July, 
1797), the troop of Carbery Cavalry were most elegantly entertained at 
dinner by their esteemed commander at Hazel wood." 




, Name. 

Captain, . - Arthur Irwin, 
1st Lieutenant, . William 0' Berne, 
2nd Lieutenant, . Samuel Shaw, . 



1st Lieutenant, 

2nd Lieutenant, . 



1st Lieutenant, 

2nd Lieutenant, . 



1st Lieutenant, . 

2nd Lieutenant, . 

Thomas Soden, . 
Abraham Martin, 
Laurence Vernon, 

James Wood, 
Richard Wood, . 
William Hamilton, 

Nicholas Ormsby, 
John Workman, . 
Roger Dodd, 

Date of Commission. 

31st Oct. 1796 

31st Oct. 1796 


31st Oct. 1796 

>> > 

31st Oct. 1796 

The following year another corps raised was styled 


Captain, . . James Croften, 
1st Lieutenant, . Jeremiah Fury, 
2nd Lieutenant, , Thomas Farrell, 

2nd Feb. 1797 

On the 1st April, Eoger Dodwell, was Gazetted first 
lieutenant, rice Fury, resigned, and on 20th June, Owen 
Wynne was appointed " First Captain " of " The Sligo Loyal 
Infantry." A letter, dated Jan. 2nd, states that " the inhabi- 
tants of Sligo had formed themselves into a military association 
to replace the regulars, should their absence be found necessary, 
and to aot in any other manner that might be deemed expedient." 
During the spring of 1798 the Sligo Militia, then designated 
the 2'2nd Light Infantry, were quartered in the South of 
Ireland, and in June, distinguished themselves in the engage- 
ment at Vinegar Hill, County Wexford, forming portion of the 
first line which carried the position at the point of the bayonet, 
having many men killed and wounded, and three officers dis- 

[To face page 14. 

Fig. 6. 

Fig. 7. 

Issued by the Right Hon. Colonel King. [Full size.] 


abled ; the regiment was favourably mentioned in the General's 
despatches as follows : 

" To the determined spirit with which these columns were con- 
ducted, and the great gallantry of the troops, we are indebted for the 
short resistance of the rebels, who maintained their ground obstinately 
for about one hour and a-half, but on perceiving the danger of being 
surrounded they fled with great precipitation. Their loss is not yet 
ascertained, but it must be very considerable ; the loss on our part is 
not great, the particulars of which I shall report as soon as possible. 
In the meantime I am sorry to say that Lt. Sandys of the Longford 
Regiment is killed, and that Colonel King of the Sligo was wounded in 
gallantly leading his Regiment." 1 

" While Vinegar Hill, which formed a very strong outpost to the 
town of Wexford, was attacked and carried by advanced columns of the 
army, another strong detachment, under the command of Brigadier- 
General Moore (of which it is stated some Sligo yeomanry corps formed 
a portion) penetrated on another side, and enclosing the rebels, who 
attempted to make their escape, pushed as far as Wexford and took 
post in a situation which commanded the town." 

One of the officers present with the Sligo Eegiment at 
Vinegar Hill used to recount the circumstances attending his 
debut into military life, which occurred shortly before that 
event. A sergeant, entering the school-room in Sligo, where 
he was attending at his lessons, saluted and notified the 
adjutant's request that the youthful ensign should forthwith 
join his regiment. The schoolboy thereupon flinging his books 
at the head of his pedagogue, rushed out of the class-room , 
cheering for the army. 

It was probably for the action of Yinegar Hill that the 
medal of which Figs. 6 and 7 are full-size representations was 
engraved. Obverse. A harp with crown, above in the rim, 
SLIGO ; underneath, MILITIA. Reverse. The legend BY THE 
RIGHT HONORABLE COLONEL KING, and in the centre, on a 

Trade in general, owing to the disturbed state of Society, was 
greatly depressed in Sligo: for instance, Henry Hart, of Market- 
street, Sligo, in an advertisement in The Sligo Journal, after 
enumerating all his wares, states that he would dispose of them 
1 Letter from General lake to Lord Castlereagh. 


" on the lowest terms for ready money only. He is unavoidably 
obliged to decline delivering any article whatever without being 
first paid for, until public credit is in some degree restored. He 
earnestly entreats that those indebted to him will discharge 
their respective accounts as soon as possible." 

This state of affairs did not mend, for, " at a meeting of the 
magistrates and principal gentlemen of the County of Sligo 
convened by public notice, T. Ormsby, Esq., High Sheriff, in the 
chair, it was EESOLVED That we view with the utmost abhor- 
rence the savage outrages that have disgraced most of the 
Northern Counties, and some other parts of the kingdom, and 
are truly sorry to find that proceedings, similar thereto are 
creeping into this hitherto peaceable county." 

The gentlemen and landholders of Sligo had prided them- 
selves on the peaceable demeanour and respect for the laws which 
the people continued to evince, when most other parts of the 
kingdom were disturbed by the " United Irishmen"; the mass 
of the people, however, were universally infected with their 
doctrines, although they had not yet broken out into acts of 
open outrage. In the beginning of 1798, a number of fugitive 
Roman Catholic families from the North of Ireland arrived in 
Sligo seeking protection, as they alleged, and from their appear- 
ance of decency and industry, and their knowledge of the 
linen manufacture, they readily obtained an asylum from the 
gentlemen of the county. Many of these families spread 
themselves over the country, particularly near the sea-coast, and 
for some time they demeaned themselves in a peaceable and 
industrious manner. They brought with them, however, a 
number of prophecies (which they asserted had been delivered by 
the ancient Irish bards) foretelling the wars and calamities which 
were shortly to take place in the country. These prophecies had 
a great effect on the minds of the lower class of people, who were 
pei maded that the events predicted must necessarily come to pass 
In pomt of fact, these northern families owed their expulsion 
om Ulster entirely to their violent political opinion and acts, 
d on the landing of the French they pressed forward to receive 
arms and ammunition from their new allies, chose leaders among 


themselves, and plundered and desolated the houses and property 
of their Protestant friends. It is remarkable that these men, 
holding in low estimation the courage and abilities of the 
Connaught rebels, refused to serve in their ranks, but formed a 
separate corps that kept together during the rebellion. 

The peasantry of the County of Sligo at least those of the 
Eoman Catholic religion although secretly organized and sworn 
to assist the French on their landing, yet, had not that event 
taken place, it was generally thought they would not have risen ^^^ 
in rebellion. The gentry and men of property, with few excep- ' _/ 
tions, were Protestants of the Church of England, consequently 
loyal and strongly aftacEed" to the established government: 
to these were added respectable farmers (mostly freeholders), 
all of whom were tolerably expert in the use of arms, being 
generally enrolled in the nearest corps of volunteers or yeomanry. 
These two bodies, united by common interest, and roused by the 
dangers which surrounded them, would have sufficed to overawe 
and restrain an unarmed rabble; the landing, however, of 
about one thousand French achieved, almost instantly, what 
the " United Irishmen " could never have effected. Another 
circumstance that contributed to promote the cause of rebellion, 
and to connect its votaries by a bond more binding than the 
oath of the " United Irishmen," was the propagation, among the 
Eoman Catholics, of the mysteries of the Carmelites. This was 
a religious Order said to have been originally instituted for the 
advancement of piety and morality, and its members were led to 
believe that an admission into the fraternity would ensure their 
eternal welfare ; this foundation being laid, it was not difficult 
afterwards to persuade them to pay a small sum of money for 
its attainment. Each member received a square piece of brown 
cloth, on which were inscribed the letters I.H.S. (Jesus hominum 
Salvator) ; this, being suspended round the neck with a string 
and lying on the shoulder next to the skin, was termed a 
scapular. The price of it, on initiation, was to the poorer class 
one shilling, and to those who could afford it, higher in pro- 
portion to their means. This distinguishing badge of the Order, 
having received the priest's benediction, was supposed capable of 


preserving the disciple from outward dangers and injuries, and 
also from attacks of the ghostly enemy. The cloth of these 
scapulars, which was at first composed of asbestos, possessed the 
quality of resisting the effects of fire, and after having received 
the priest's benediction they were committed to the flames, 
when to the astonishment of the beholders they remained safe 
and entire; and having undergone this fiery ordeal, their 
seemingly supernatural preservation was ascribed to the blessing 
of the priest. 

In Sligo the parish priests, either convinced of the utility 
of this Order in promoting the cause of religion, or seeing that 
the sale of scapulars was profitable, procured a power to 
dispose of them. Bags filled with them were sent for sale to 
fairs and markets, and these scapulars soon became the sign by 
which those of the " true faith " were to know each other. 

At length, on the 22nd of August 1798, occurred the 
event so eagerly awaited by the Sligo rebels ; three 
French frigates appeared in the bay of Killala, County Mayo, 
and the landing took place. On the evening of the following 
day (August 23rd) the French men of war were in Sligo Bay. 

Precautions were at once taken to secure the town. Within 
a week six or seven English frigates and a cutter, with 1000 
marines on board, were cruising in Sligo Bay ; the cutter put 
into Killala and cut out a brig and a sloop, which the French 
had left behind for store ships, containing a great quantity of 
arms, ammunition, and clothing. There was a smart engage- 
ment, and this cutter bore a heavy fire from the enemy ; the 
other French vessels were boarded, the crews taken prisoners, 
and the ships set on fire. 

On the night of the 3rd of September, General Humbert, 
the commander of the French, sent off his baggage and cannon 
with some of his troops towards Sligo ; on their departure from 
Castlebar the French numbered about nine hundred men, with- 
out counting their Irish allies. From Swinford they proceeded 
towards Bellahy, halting about two miles from that village, 
to which they sent an advance guard : thence they proceeded 
towards Tubbercurry, and halted within two miles of it. 


The " Corran-Liney and Coolavin cavalry," stationed there 
as a picket, under the command of Captain O'Hara, Member 
for the County, advanced to reconnoitre the enemy, and in a 
skirmish with them Lieutenant Knott was taken prisoner and 
his only son killed; also Captain Russell, of the Prince of 
Wales' Fencibles, was captured by the French at Tubbercurry, 
and having been severely wounded died a few days after. 

Captain O'Hara sent intelligence to Colonel Yereker at 
Sligo that the French were advancing. 

Besides the rebels who had marched from Castlebar with 
the French, a considerable body of them were sent across the 
mountains (from Ballina to Tubbercurry) with eighty Protestant 
prisoners ; the distress for food, however, was so great that the 
latter were sent back under a rebel guard. 

From Tubbercurry the French proceeded to Collooney, and 
on their way the Irish pikemen plundered the house of Mr. 
Perceval of Templehouse, because he had been active against 
the " United Irishmen." 

When the French reached the village of Collooney, distant 
about six miles from Sligo, the inhabitants of the latter town, 
were in the utmost consternation. Sligo contained property to the 
amount of at least 200,000 ; there were in its harbour several 
ships, and in its vicinity were twelve well- furnished bleach- 
yards. The small force of six- hundred effective men stationed 
there was ordered to evacuate it ; however, Colonel Yereker 
with a detachment of the city of Limerick Militia and a few 
yeomen, the whole not exceeding two hundred and eighty-six 
men, with two curricle guns 1 , marched out, engaged the French 
and the rebels, giving them so severe a check, notwithstanding 

1 Particulars are here given of the corps engaged in the battle of 
Collooney, as taken from The Sligo Journal of 14th Sept. : 

" About eleven in the morning, Colonel Vereker of the Limerick Militia 
marched hence against them with detachments of the following corps, viz., 
City Limerick Militia, 220 ; Essex Fencibles, 20 ; Loyal Sligo Infantry, 20 ; 
Bailymote Infantry, 10; Drumcliff Infantry, 16 total, 286 : together with 
a troop of the 24th Light Dragoons, and detachments from the Tyrerill, 
Liney, and Drumcliff troops of Yeomen Cavalry, and only two curricle 



their great superiority of numbers, as to deter them from 
nearer approach to Sligo, and forced them to proceed towards 

The French had with them about nine hundred men, two 
hundred and fifty deserters from the Longford and Kilkenny 
Militia, together with a numerous body of rebels. 

Colonel Vereker's right was covered by a rising ground, 
upon which he posted a few men ; on his left was the river. 
His men on the hill were outflanked and forced in, and his rear 
was attacked, whereupon he was compelled to retreat over the 
river. The action began at half-past two, and lasted an hour 
and thirty-eight minutes. Of the French twenty-eight were 
killed and a great many wounded. After the action the 
French grenadiers represented to General Humbert that the 
rebels would not support them, and were deserting in great 

The following is Colonel Vereker's description of the fight : 

"About nine o'clock that morning (5th September), Captain 
O'Hara, of the Liney Yeomen Cavalry, who commanded my advanced 
regiment at Tubbercurry, reported to me he had been drove back by 
the advanced guard of the enemy, after a smart skirmish, in which he 
had one man killed and one wounded. Shortly after I learned that a 
division of the French army had arrived at Collooney, with an inten- 
tion, as I conceived, of attacking this town (Sligo) and as I judged it 
more advisable to attack them than to wait to be attacked, I marched 
out with two hundred and fifty of the Limerick City Militia, two cur- 
ricle guns, twenty of the Essex Fencibles, thirty Yeomen Infantry, and 
a troop of the Twenty-fourth Light Dragoons. On coming near Collooney 
I found the enemy at the side of the town, ready to receive me. I 
accordingly ordered Major Onnsby, with one-hundred men, to occupy 
a hill which covered my right, my left being protected by a river. 
I then moved in close to the enemy, and a very severe action com- 
menced, which lasted near an hour-and-a-half. At length the very 
superior numbers of the enemy enabled them to outflank the division 

>n my right, and oblige them to fall back ; and then perceiving the 
enemy making a disposition to surround me, and my ammunition being 
nearly expended, a retreat became absolutely necessary. From the 

afortunate circumstance of one of the artillery horses being shot 
when putting to, which created much confusion, we were obliged to 
leave our guns behind; however, as the ammunition waggon and all 


the harness were brought off, they were rendered useless to the enemy, 
as appears by their not taking them with them. Our loss in this 
action, considering we had the whole of the French and Rebel army 
to contend with, was less than might have been expected, there 
having been only one officer and six rank and file killed, and five officers 
and twenty -two rank and file wounded ; the loss on the side of the 
French, by their own account, was about twenty killed and about 
thirty wounded ; fourteen very badly, were brought in here, four of 
whom have since died in the hospital. There must have been also a 
number of rebels killed and wounded, which we could not ascertain. 
I have great pleasure in expressing my entire approbation of the 
conduct of the officers and soldiers on this occasion ; to Lieutenant- 
Colonel Grough I have to return my warmest thanks for the very 
great zeal and spirit displayed by him ; to Major Ormsby, my thanks 
are justly due; as also to Captain Waller, of the Limerick Militia, 
who with his light company was extremely active. I have likewise 
to express my obligations to Captain Slicer, of the Royal Irish 
Artillery, for his conduct in the action, and his great exertions, under 
very heavy fire to bring off his guns, as well as to Captain Whistler 
of the Twenty-fourth Light Dragoons, who with great bravery met 
the charge of the French Cavalry and obliged them to retire. I have 
great satisfaction to think that although we were obliged to retreat, 
the object of the action was attained, namely, that of saving the town, 
as from the acknowledgment of the French Officers it was their inten- 
tion to have attacked it, but from the check they got, and thinking we 
would not have gone out to meet them if not supported in our rear they 
changed their direction. 

" (Signed), " CHARLES VEREZER, 

" Colonel, Limerick City Regiment. 
" SLIGO, September 30th, 1798." 

Colonel Yereker in this despatch omitted to mention how 
his retreat was covered by Sligo men, but for whose exertions 
the cavalry would have been annihilated. The following 
incident, well known at the time, and still current amongst the 
Protestant population about Collooney, is thus detailed in The 
Sligo Journal of 14th September : " Pressed in the above action 
by an army so much superior to ours, nothing could exceed 
the service rendered by Mr. Archibald Armstrong, who at the 
head of thirty- two men (yeoman infantry), had taken so 
advantageous a position that the retreat of the cavalry was 
effectually secured." 


As may be seen from the petition given beneath 1 , Captain 
Armstrong had subsequently a very active military career. 
The fact of his having been the means of covering the retreat 
of the cavalry and the Limerick Militia was a well-recognized 
fact, and he succeeded in obtaining a commission for his son on 
these grounds. 

A silver medal was subsequently struck by the Corporation 
of Limerick for presentation to their City Eegiment to com- 
memorate this engagement. It is 1*55 inches in diameter, 
bearing on the obverse the arms of Limerick, with the legend 
Eoyal Crown, within olive wreaths, and the legend To THE 
HEROES OF COLOONEY, 5ra SEPT., 1798 ; in small letters is the 
name of the artist, i. e. BRUSH. At top was a small perforated 
projection for a ring by which it could be suspended (Figs. 8 & 9). 

1 " To the RIGHT HONORABLE GENERAL LORD HILL, Commander-in- Chief, 
G.C.B., C.H. & K.C., &c. &c. 

41 The Memorial of ARCHIBALD ARMSTRONG, late Captain of the 71st 

"MosT HUMBLY SHOWETH, Thatyour Memorialist at a very early period 
of his life manifested a strong predilection for His Majesty's service, having 
in the year 1798, at the head of an armed party of the loyal inhabitants of 
the town and neighbourhood of Collooney, in co-operation with the troops 
under the command of Colonel Vereker (now Lord Gort), succeeded in gaining 
the flank of General Humbert's corps, and in checking by their tire the 
enemies' attack upon the King's troops, at Collooney, on the 5th of September, 

" That in May, 1801, your Memorialist purchased a commission in the 71st 
Regiment, succeeded to a Lieutenancy in 1803, and served under the command 
of Lieutenant-General Sir D. Baird in the reduction of the Cape of Good 
Hope, in January, 1806, and served under the command of General Lord 
Viscount Beresford in the capture of Buenos Ayres, &c. &o. &c. 

"Your Memorialist humbly, but confidently hopes that your Lordship 
be pleased to take his long and active services of 20 years and 6 months 
into your kind consideration, and recommend his son Archibald for an 
Ensign's Commission in a Regiment of the line. 

" And your Memorialist will for ever most gratefully pray. 


11 Late Captain list Regiment, and Chief Constable 
"STRABANE, or Sub-Inspector. 

" 10th February, 1840." 

[To face page 22. 

Fig. 8. 

Fig. - 


For presentation to their City Regiment. [Full size.] 



Completely checked by the resistance which they had so 
unexpectedly encountered, the French abandoned the idea of 
advancing on Sligo, and leaving Collooney, marched towards 
Drumahaire. 1 

About three o'clock in the afternoon on the day of the 
battle at Collooney, some country people entered the town of 
Sligo and announced that the troops had been beaten, and the 
French were advancing; on which intelligence many Protestant 
women together with some few men embarked in the ships; 
those, however, who were capable of bearing arms, to the 
number of about three hundred, resolved to defend the town, 
and were joined by a number of Methodists, headed by their 
preacher, Albert Blest. The troops who had remained behind 
under command of Colonel Sparrow occupied the most advan- 
tageous posts in the approaches leading to the town, and they 
continued under arms all night. 

On Thursday, the 6th September, the officer in command 
of the troops in Sligo ordered a retreat on Ballyshannon, and he 
was accompanied by a majority of the respectable inhabitants. 
The town was thus left at the mercy of the French and the 
insurgents, but was re-occupied again on Friday, the 7th. 

" During the above anxious period," remarks the Editor of 
The Sligo Journal, " all here was silent as the night, no business 
of any kind done, and nothing was seen in our streets save a 
few, a very few, citizens, who with a holy fear kept a desultory 
watch. We printed not ; for what had we to say ? or to whom 
publish our tale of woe ? " 

In pursuit of the French, General Lake arrived at Bellahy, 
where he was informed that they had passed on, more than 
fourteen hours before. About seven o'clock that evening he 
reached Tubbercurry, where he encamped, and remained 
some hours. He was there joined by Colonel Crawford. 
General Lake marched from Tubbercurry to Collooney, heard 
there of the action, and found a number of French killed, 

1 The Dublin Evening Post, 28th October, 1798, contains an address 
from the High Sheriff and Grand Jury of the County Sligo, complimenting 
all concerned in the action at Collooney on their conduct on that occasion. 


and also some wounded who were under the care of a French 
surgeon. At Collooney a deserter from the Longford Eegiment 
was recognized by some of the advance guard and shot. 

Numbers of dead or dying men were found along the road, 
having been killed by the corps of light dragoons, who formed 
the reconnoitering party; and the French had been so hard 
pressed in the pursuit that, about a mile from Collooney, they 
left on the road two pieces of cannon, and threw five more into 
the river at Drumahaire. On the night of the 7th of September, 
General Lake encamped at Ballintogher, between Drumahaire 
and Collooney, and on the 8th the surrender of the French at 
Ballynamuck 1 ended the actual warfare. 

General Lake received in Collooney some curious particulars 
relative to the French troops, it being stated that their officers 
declared themselves to have been grossly deceived : " they had 
expected to be joined by the whole power of the country, i. e. 
by an organized and disciplined army, who only required to be 
put in motion to ensure success. Instead of this, they found 
only a barbarous undisciplined mob, the refuse of the country, 
unfit for action, and incapable of order ; ferocious towards their 
allies, and discordant amongst themselves." 

It may be well to state here what occurred in Tireragh, 

1 Subjoined is the nominal roll of the principal French officers captured 
at Ballynamuck, as given in the columns of The Sligo Journal. It is of 
interest, as all enumerated must have been present at the prior engagement 
of Collooney : 

"Humbert, General en Chef; Thibault, Payeur; Sarazin, Gen. de Divi- 
sion; Puton, Aide-de-Camp; Fontaine, Gen. de Brigade; Laferure, Chef 
de Brigade attache, a L'Etat Major; Dufour, do. do.; Aulty, Chef de 
Battalion; Demanche, do.; Touissaint, do.; Babin, do.; Silbermon, do. - 
Menou, Commissaire Ordonnateur; Framair, do. ; Brillier, Commissaire de 

3 rre ; Moreau Capitaine Wagnemestre Gen. ; Ardouin, Chef de Brigade ; 

; Grenadier 78; Fusiliers 440; 
Total, 84 ; Cannoniers 41 -^al 746; Officiers 9^ 

" Certifie par le Chef de Brigade, 



and the following account is principally derived from letters 
written by persons who had been actually eye-witnesses of the 
incidents narrated. 

When the French marched from Killala on Ballina, some 
resistance was made at the bridge which spans the Moy by a 
few volunteers ; but many of these were Roman Catholics, and 
on the appearance of the French they immediately bolted. 

The Protestant inhabitants of the barony dreaded not only 
the approach of the French, but likewise the cruelty of the 
rebels ; and aware also of there being no troops of any kind on 
the line from Ballina to Sligo, they fled to the latter place for 
protection. Many Protestant farmers were seen retreating on 
foot, driving their cattle and sheep before them, and conveying 
on carts their wives and children and such of their goods as 
they could conveniently remove. 

The Protestant clergy were also compelled to fly precipitately ; 
the persecution levelled against them had not been confined to 
imprisonment of their persons and destruction of their houses 
and property, but was even extended to the demolition of their 
churches, from which all carpenter work was removed, and the 
books found in them wantonly torn. Amongst the churches 
most damaged were those of Lackan, Easky, Killmacteige, and 
Enniscrone. Of the latter they tore up the flooring, demolished 
the pews and communion table, rifled the tombs, and desecrated 
the remains of the dead. 

In this work of destruction the Sligo insurgents were aided 
by those of Mayo. All the houses of the gentry were plundered ; 
some were even demolished. The principal sufferers were Mr. 
Nesbitt of Scurmore, Mr. Fenton of Easky, Mr. Brown of Fort- 
land, Mr. Grove, rector of Kilmacshalgan, Mr. Charles and 
Mr. Robert Jones, the Messrs. Wood, and several others. 

James Crofton of Longford was absent from his residence, 
but his father, an aged but very resolute man, refused to leave, 
even after being informed that the rebels purposed to visit the 
house. The old man, who was bedridden, caused his couch to 
be placed across the front door, and informed his assailants that 
if they entered it should be across his body. They replied that 


it was his son they " wanted," and he not being at home, they 
left the father unmolested. 1 

It was probably the same party of rebels who took possession 
of the house of a gentleman resident in the immediate neighbour- 
hood, but who had gone to Sligo on the capture of Ballina by 
the French. The cattle grazing in the demesne were slaughtered, 
huge fires lighted, and the operation of cooking performed al 
fresco. The rebel leaders regaled themselves upon the contents of 
the cellar, and one of the soldiers seeing that the officers drank 
the best of everything, thought the men should have a share, 
and saluting Colonel O'Dowd, a descendant of the O'Dowds of 
Tireragh, he suggested that the men also should get a drink, but 
before O'Dowd could make any reply another officer told the 
man to take the water cart down to the stream and fill it, and 
that it would hold more than the men would require. The retort 
of the embryo soldier was worthy of the occasion, " I'm entirely 
obliged to you, sir," said he, " but if we're always to be soles, 
and ye uppers, we'd as lief have gone on serving King Greorge." 

Some Protestants on the coast put out to sea in boats in order 
to avoid the excesses of the rebels ; some fled to the mountains 
and hid in caves, whilst others lay in the cornfields and were 

1 The strange career of Henry Crot'ton, an ancestor of the Sligo family 
of that name, may be of interest : " Henry Crofton was attainted by William 
III., and fled to Spain, where he joined some order of the Roman Catholic 
Church. His attainder being subsequently reversed, he returned to Ireland, 
professed to be a Protestant, so very decided a Protestant indeed that he 
wrote a controversial book styled the Key to Popery.' Becoming dissatis- 
fied, however, he returned to Spain, and to his former creed, but again 
relapsed, and finally in Spain was burned as a heretic. 

"Interest in the Stuart cause would seem to have survived in the 

family long after the decease of the volatile Henry Crofton, for James, 

son of Sir Malby Crofton, married the grand-daughter of Archibald Cameron 

(brother of Lochiel), the last of the long list of victims to their devotion to 

the worthless Stuarts. Archibald Cameron had fled to France, and after 

residing there many years, returned to his native country, imagining that all 

fear was then over, as the presence of other well-known Jacobites had been 

erated by the Government. However, for some reason which has not been 

ivulged, he was arrested, tried, and condemned. The authorities would not 

isten to any appeal, though his wife, it is stated, was allowed a personal 

interview with George II., who refused to reprieve him." 


almost starved. A letter from Mrs. Jones, describing her escape 
from Ardnaree, conveys a graphic idea of these disturbed times. 
She managed with difficulty to escape with her four children 
and some other refugees; all the servants had joined the 
rebels. It was not without dangers and adventures that she 
made her way to Fortland, the residence of her uncle, Mr. 
Brown, who had just abandoned the house. She then left for 
Tanregoe, the seat of her brother, Colonel Irwin, who was at 
that time in Wexford, with the Sligo Militia. Here she 
learned that the bridge of Ballydrihed was being broken down, 
and that Ballysadare was in possession of the rebels; there- 
fore the only way of escape was by water ; so after tacking to 
and fro, and the water dashing over them in the boat, they were 
at last landed at the sand-banks, from whence they proceeded on 
foot to Ballydrihed which was then in possession of Captain 
James Wood's corps of yeomanry and continued their course to 

General Trench and Lord Portarlington agreed to attack 
Killala simultaneously, the former advancing on it from the 
south, the latter from the north. Lord Portarlington marched 
from Sligo on the 21st September, with his own and the Queen's 
County Eegiment, a detachment of the 24th Dragoons, the 
Tireragh Yeomen Infantry, commanded by Captain James 
Wood, and the Tireragh Yeoman Cavalry under Captain Ormsby ; 
the whole amounting to about 800 men, with two pieces of 
cannon. They halted the first night at Arkill Lodge, where the 
rebels approached, but made no attack. On the night of the 
22nd, however, when encamped at Scurmore, they were attacked 
by a numerous body of insurgents commanded by Henry 
O'Keon and Mr. Barret, but they were soon routed with a loss 
of about 200 killed, amongst them being some Protestants whom 
the rebels had forced to the front in order to draw the fire of 
the troops upon them, and who, when the rebels broke and fled, 
fell in the indiscriminate slaughter of the pursuit. The rebel 
leader, John M'Donnough, by whose order these innocent people 
had been driven to their death, was captured a few days after- 
wards and hanged. 


The next morning, i.e. the 23rd September, Ballina was 
occupied by Captain O'Hara's, Captain Wynne's, and Captain 
Crofton's corps of yeomanry, which formed portion of the force 
under command of Major General Trench ; these, together with 
the two Tireragh corps, assisted in the recapture of Killala. 
Towards the close of the year (October 27) four French frigates 
and a man-of-war made their appearance off the Sligo Coast. 
This news was brought in by the Fox cutter, which escaped under 
a heavy fire distinctly heard in the streets of Sligo, and the 
excitement " put a stop to all trade for this market day. Colonel 
Gough, commanding the garrison, ordered the troops to be in 
readiness to march at a moment's notice." These vessels were 
probably connected with the abortive descent of Napper Tandy 
on the Bosses in Donegal. 

The following were the committee of Sligo magistrates ap- 
pointed by Government to inquire into losses sustained owing 
to the excesses of the insurgents, and to decide on the claims 
of each applicant : Arthur Irwin, W. Harloe Phibbs, Eev. 
Messrs. Duke, Cullen, and West. 

15,769 14s. 9d. was claimed by the "Suffering Loyalists" 
of the County Sligo for their losses sustained in the rebellion 
of 1798, and which amount was laid before the Commissioners 
appointed by Act of Parliament for compensating them. The 
total foi all Ireland was 823,517 6s. 4d. 

It is difficult to make out with any exactness the total 
sum allowed by the Commissioners in the County Sligo for 
these claims, for although there are printed lists, which appear 
to have been presented to Parliament, still amongst the papers 
on this subject preserved in the Eecord Office, supplemental 
grants seem to have been frequently made. The proceedings 
have in almost every instance been recorded, and will, for any 
person interested in the subject, repay perusal. (See Appen- 
dix B.) 

The yeomanry had been found of such use during the 
rebellion that they were continued, by Act of Parliament, as a 
permanent military force but except called out for regular 
service, not subject to the articles of war. 



The same difficulty that is sometimes experienced in England 
with the volunteers, in regard to the recovery of the arms, 
accoutrements, and appointments of men who refused to sur- 
render them, was also felt by officers commanding yeomanry 
corps in Ireland; but by the Act 42 Geo. III., &c., any member 
of a corps when discharged, if he neglected to hand over his kit 
thereby rendered himself liable to a penalty of 10. 

It seems to have been a popular force, for in the year 1828 
there were in the County Sligo 528 yeomen. The honour of 
belonging to the body must have been the principal attraction, 
for in consequence of the change of currency which took place 
in Ireland from 5th January, 1826, their pay was as follows : 

Pay of permanent sergeant, lid per diem. 

Pay of permanent drummer, 9%d per diem. 

Inspection pay of the non-commissioned officers and privates lid 
for each day of Inspection. In case the corps was employed outside 
the county, the rate of pay was allowed in English currency. 

The permanent sergeants were generally old soldiers for 
instance, William Carter, who for many years was non-com- 
missioned officer of " The County of Sligo Light Infantry," 
had previously served nearly four years in the Militia, was 
present at Yinegar Hill, had then volunteered into the 35th 
Foot, had been through the Egyptian and other campaigns, 
and had spent nearly 20 years of his life entirely on foreign 

In 1805 the strength of the yeomanry was much increased. 
Bridgeham, from Captain of the Bally mote Infantry, was in 
1799 appointed Brigade-Major in command of the following 
corps : 

Capt, 1st Company, Sligo Loyal Volunteers. 
,, 2nd ,, ,, ,, 

n 3rd ,, ,, ,, 

Capt. Sligo Revenue Infantry. 

Capt. Sligo Union Infantry. 

Capt. Sligo Light Infantry. 

Capt. Carbury Cavalry. 

Capt. Drumcliff Infantry. 

Capt. Templeboy Infantry. 

Abraham Martin, 
Alexander Hume, 
J. Everard, 
Samuel Bulteel, 
Charles Martin, 
Thomas Ormsby, 
Owen Wynne, 
T. Soden, 
John Wood, . 


James Crofton, . Capt. County Sligo Infantry. 

Richard Wood, . Capt. Tireragh Infantry. 

James Morton, . Capt. Ardnaree Infantry. 

Charles Jones, . Capt. S. T. Infantry. 

J. Invin, . Capt. 1st Company E. T. Supplementary. 

Charles O'Hara, . Capt. Corran and Liney Cavalry. 

Richard Gethin, . Capt. Ballymote Infantry. 

John Workman, . Capt. Tirerrel Cavalry. 

J. Johnston, . . Capt. Ballintogher Supplementaries. 

The discipline of the various corps appears to have been 
excellent, and judging by the accounts and pay sheets, the 
interior economy was good ; quarterly returns had to be sent 
to the War Office, and strict orders were enforced against the 
yeomen joining any procession or playing any party tunes, 
more especially on the 12th of July. 

The corps appear to have been regularly inspected by a 
Brigade-Major of yeomanry, specially appointed for that duty, 
as subjoined will show : 

"The following corps of yeomanry of the County Sligo were 
inspected by Major Crawford and Colonel Hale of the 23rd Regiment, 
at Drornore West on the 13th January, 1831 : THE EASKEY AND 
CASTLETOWN, under Captain Fenton ; THE TEMPLEBOY, under Captain 

"At Sligo on the 14th January, THE SLIGO LOYAL, under Captain 
James Wood ; THE SLIGO UNION, under Captain C. Martin ; THE 
DRUMCLIFFE, under Captain John Wynne, M.P. 

"At Collooney, on the same date, THE TIRERAGH AND TEMPLEHOTJSE, 
under Captain Richard Wood ; THE COUNTY SLIGO LOYAL INFANTRY, 1 
under Major O'Hara 2 ; THE COOPER'S HILL, under Capt. A. B. Cooper; 
THE BALLYMOTE, under Lord Kirk wall. 

" Colonel Hale expressed himself highly pleased at the appearance 
and discipline of the several Corps." 

The yeomanry seem to have been compulsorily reduced 
circa 1834 ; the permanent sergeants and buglers were discon- 
tinued, and they were disbanded shortly afterwards. 

1 1st August, 1820. Malby Crofton was 1st Lieutenant on the 29th 
January, 1831. John Armstrong was gazetted 2nd Captain, and Meredith 
Thompson, Jun., to be 1st Lieutenant, vice Crofton, appointed Chief 
Constable of Police. 

2 Appointed in 1819. 


The Militia would seem to have been permanently em- 
bodied, from the close of 1792 to the middle of the year 1814. 
Entries in the Vestry-books of the Union of St. John's demon- 
strate the fact that, in order to keep up the Regiment to its 
full strength, money had to be levied on the various districts. 
On this subject, the following extracts may prove of interest: 

"RESOLVED. That the sum of forty pounds nineteen shillings 
sterl. be applotted and levied off the Union at large, and paid to the 
Col. of the Sligo Militia for the purpose of procuring the "Quota of 
men to be added to s d . Keg*, according to Act Pad*. 40 19s. Qd." 
7th April, 1798. 

At a vestry meeting held in St. John's Church on the 
10th December, 1807 

" For the purpose of taking into consideration the best and most 
effectual Mode to raise the Quota of men (33) for the County of Sligo 
Militia, appertained on these Parishes pursuant to Act of Parliament, 
the Minister, Churchwardens and Parishioners being present ; Resolved, 
that the steps necessary to make out Lists of the persons to be 
balloted to serve in the County Militia be immediately taken and 
such lists forthwith made out according to Law." 

Again, in the year 1812, this entry occurs 
"To am*, of Militia money pd. Cap*. Tyler, 112 12*. 3rf." 
The pay of privates was a shilling per diem, and a penny 
for beer money ; they were obliged to pay for 5 Ibs. of meat a 
week ; some eat bread, some " stirabout," and some potatoes, 
the quantity used of the last being four stone per week. The 
following was the scale per week for each private at the time 
the Regiment was quartered at Cahir, in the year 1808 : 

" 5 Ibs. of meat at 4d. ; 4 stones of potatoes at l^d. ; washing 4<?., 
barrack cook Id. ; total 2s. 7d. Any other food depended on the 
individual taste of the men ; some of them drank beer. One suit of 
clothes per annum was supplied by the Colonel at a cost of 2 10s. ; 
the men provided their own lodgings, received 4d. per diem as 
marching money or if sent on escort duty." 

Almost immediately after its embodiment in 1793, the 
Sligo Eegiment was moved to the South of Ireland, and was 
replaced in December, 1794, by the Clare Militia. After its 


campaign in the South of Ireland, it was marched to Dundalk ; 
whilst from the 12th July to 28th August, 1807, it was at 
Clonoony," and the following year it was stationed at Cashel 
under the command of Colonel Irwin. In 1810 it was at 
Limerick it then mustered 609 rank and file a large comple- 
ment, if the number be taken into consideration that were 
constantly volunteering for active service. 

Volunteering so called was very probably stimulated by 
bounties and by money paid to the men by officers who were 
desirous of entering the line, as an officer bringing a certain 
number of men with him was granted a Commission. 

Whilst stationed in the South of Ireland, the light com- 
panies of the militia regiments there quartered were formed 
into a temporary brigade, and the light companies of the Sligo 
Militia composed a portion of it. 

Major-General H. T. Montresor, commanding the troops in 
Limerick, reported of the Sligo Regiment as follows : 

" LIMERICK, 2lst May, 1811. 

" The exemplary conduct of the Sligo Eegiment in this Garrison 
vies with their steadiness in the field." 

Shortly after, the Sligoes were ordered to embark for 
England ; and with the object of reconciling the married men 
to the change, they were ail allowed to be accompanied by 
their wives and families without restriction as regards numbers ; 
and provisions as well as accommodation were allotted to them 
on board the transports. 

Whilst in England the Sligo Militia appears to have borne 
a high reputation. 


" CHELMSFORD, 9th Oct., 1813. 

"Colonel Hutchinson has experienced extreme regret in having 
this forenoon received official directions, not less unwelcome to him- 
self individually, than he can with safety take upon him to assert to 
the Garrison in general, for. the removal of the Sligo Regiment from 
this station. The Colonel, having since the first of May last enjoyed 
the greatest possible satisfaction, added to the honour of having the 


Sligo under his command, cannot in justice to his own conviction as 
well as to their acknowledged merits suffer a corps so conspicuously 
distinguished for its military characteristics of high discipline in the 
field, and interior economy and regularity in quarters, to depart with- 
out attempting to solicit their kind acceptance of his best thanks, 
accompanied by every assurance of the lasting sentiments of esteem, 
regard, and respect, in which their conduct has always entitled them 
personally and professionally to be remembered." 

When leaving their quarters in Northamptonshire they 
received equal commendation. 


" General Williams has great pleasure in expressing the satisfac- 
tion he has received from the uniform good conduct of the SHgo 
Regiment during the period it has been under his command, and the 
Major-General desires to offer his thanks to Major O'Hara for the 
unremitting zeal and ability with which he has commanded the Regi- 
ment. His acknowledgments are likewise due to Major Sir James 
Crofton and the other officers of the Regiment for their zealous per- 
formance of their duties." 

A curious little diary kept by one of the officers is still 
in existence, and describes the various places the regiment 
marched through on its way to Bristol, for embarkation to 
Limerick i.e., Oundle, Fotheringay, Kettering, Wellings- 
borough, Northampton, Towcester, Brackley, Stow, &c. 

In 1814, at the conclusion of the European War, all Militia 
Battalions were disbanded ; the Sligoes had been nineteen 
years embodied, and evidently must have well deserved the 
compliments paid them : 


" LIMERICK, October 7th, 1814. 

11 The County of Sligo Militia having received Routes to march 
towards that county for the purpose of being disembodied, Colonel 
Armstrong cannot permit a corps that has so many claims on his 
attention and esteem to quit this District without endeavouring to 
express the high sense which he entertains of the ardent zeal and 
distinguished ability with which the Military duties of the Regiment 
have been uniformly conducted. To the Field Officers and Captains 
the greatest praise is due; their excellent conduct and example as 



gentlemen and soldiers could not fail of producing among all classes 
of the corps that steady attention to professional reputation, that 
happy unanimity, and genuine cordiality, which have invariably 
characterized their conduct. 

" Colonel Armstrong therefore feels sincere satisfaction in tendering 
to all the Officers of the Sligo his warmest acknowledgments and 
best wishes for their future welfare and happiness, and he requests 
that Major O'Hara will be pleased to communicate to the non-com- 
missioned officers and private men of that corps his perfect appro- 
bation of their good discipline, steadiness, and intelligence which have 
marked their conduct on all occasions, and particularly on duties of 

The Militia formed a valuable aid to the service all through 
the struggle with France; they had been constantly under 
arms, and in a speech in the House of Commons in 1813 Lord 
Castlereagh thus alludes to their services : 

"We could not have kept possession of Portugal, or have sent 
forces to co-operate in the deliverance of the Peninsula at large ; and 
Parliament ought always therefore to bear in recollection that it is to 
the Militia we owe the character we at present enjoy in military 
Europe, and that without this Militia we could not have shown that 
face which we have done in the Peninsula." 

The first mention that can be found of change in desig- 
nation of the Sligo Regiment is in 1843, where (under the 
heading of "Disembodied Militia"), it is described as the 124th, 
instead of the 22nd Light Infantry. 

On the 8th February, 1855, the Regiment was embodied, 
and it then appeared as a rifle corps, the Charter-school House 
being used as a temporary barracks. The regiment was shortly 
after moved to Longford : and on the 25th August, 1856, 1 it 
was disembodied. In the year 1877 it was compulsorily trans- 

1 An old army pensioner named Allen Armstrong and his wife received 
in the year 1855 a cheque for 19 on a Sligo Bank from the Private Secre- 
tary of the Emperor Napoleon. Armstrong had served 30 years in the army, 
and was stationed at St. Helena when Napoleon was confined there, and for 
a length of time his wife acted in the capacity of washerwoman to the 
Emperor. This fact being brought under the notice of Napoleon III., by a 
Memorial, the above remittance was the result. Armstrong served in eleven 
battles against Napoleon I., and by a strange chance received a gratuity 
from his successor. The Sligo Champion, 28th April, 1855. 


formed into an Artillery Brigade, the officers being allowed no 
compensation for the change of uniform. At that period it 
was styled " 8th Brigade (Duke of Connaught's Own) North. 
Irish Division, E.A." Its present designation is "The Duke 
of Connaught's Own Sligo Artillery, South Division, E.A." 
The want of sufficient Barrack accommodation in the town 
causes the Militia now to go through their course of annual 
training under canvas at Bosses' Point four miles distant. 

Appendix C contains a list of Officers of the Co. Sligo 
Eegiment, showing the rank last held by each, from the year 
1793 to 1890. 

Shortly after the permanent embodiment of the Militia, 
in 1793, " Governors of the County Sligo " were appointed. 
Colonel Irwin, in 1828, stated before a Committee of the 
House of Commons, that the particular duties of the Governors 
of a County in Ireland were connected with the Militia of that 
County; "I may confidently say," he continued, "that if I had 
not been appointed Colonel of the Regiment, I should not have 
been appointed a Governor of the County." In 1801 the 
Governors were the Et. Hon. J". Cooper, Charles O'Hara, 
Owen Wynne, Esquires, and the Et. Hon. H. King. It 
appears also as if any one of these Governors could either him- 
self appoint, or recommend the appointment of Magistrates, and 
one of the changes suggested by Colonel Irwin in his evidence 
as above quoted was, that only one person in each County should 
have that power ; afterwards an Act of the 1 & 2 William IV. 
confines the power to the Lieutenant of the County. As regards 
the Militia, although the appointment to a first Commission is 
still his prerogative, yet if he fail to nominate within a specified 
time, the power then lapses to the Officer Commanding the 
Eegiment. Her Majesty's Lieutenant and Custos Rotulorum 
for County Sligo is Lt.-Col. Edward Henry Cooper, of Markree 
Castle, appointed 1877. The Deputy-Lieutenants, fourteen in 
number, are : 

Crofton, Sir Malby, Bart. ; Duke, E. A. ; Efolliott, Lt.-Col. John ; 
Gore-Booth, Sir Henry W., Bart. ; Gore, Lt.-Col. Sir Charles J. Knox, 
Bart. ; Harlech, Lord ; Irwin, Burton ; Knox, Utred A. ; O'Hara, C. 

D 2 


W MacDermot, The; Palmer, Major-General Sir Roger W. H., 
Bart. ; Phibbs, Owen ; Wood-Martin, Lt.-Col. W. G. ; Wynne, Owen. 

In the month of June, 1860 -despite the Foreign Enlist- 
ment Act-about one hundred aspirants for military fame- 
being of all ages and sizes embarked on board the steamship 
Sligo," en route for Borne, their purpose being to act as 
soldiers for Pope Pius IX. ; they do not appear to have fared 
too well in Italy, for their wretched condition forms the topic 
of leading articles in newspapers of the period; and in No- 
vember of the same year several of these volunteers arrived in 
Sligo, having been conveyed home by the liberality of the 
British Government, to whom they had appealed for aid in 
their difficulties. 

In 1867, at about 1 a.m., 27th April, the Chief Boatman in 
charge of Streedagh Station arrested a stranger, who gave un- 
satisfactory answers to his inquiries, and about two hours after- 
wards two men also strangers to the locality were found, 
lying wounded, on the beach. These men were supposed to 
have been landed by a brigantineof very suspicious appearance, 
which at that period was cruising in Sligo Bay, with a crew 
of fifty hands. 

In 1856 the Admiralty first took charge of the Coast- 
guard, which in Sligo consists of two divisions, under Divisional 
Officers ; the headquarters of the first being at Bosses' Point, 
and the second at Pullendiva. The Sligo Division has (within 
the County), the following stations : Bosses' Point, with a 
Divisional Officer and seven men ; Baughley, a Chief Boat- 
man and five men ; Mullaghmore, a Chief Officer and eight 
men. From this place three men are detached to Bally- 
shannon, in the County Donegal. The Pullendiva Division 
has (in the County Sligo), the following stations: At Derk- 
more, a Chief Boatman and four men ; at Pullendiva, a Divi- 
sional Officer and six men ; at Pullocheny, a Chief Boatman 
and four men ; at Enniscrone, a Chief Boatman and five men. 



HE early members of Parliament for the County 
Sligo call for little remark. From the Eevolution 
of 1688, the Gores, Wingfields, Morgans, Cootes ? 
and Ormsbys held sway, until the advent of the 
Wynnes, who appear to have retained with but two 
short intervals one seat in the County, together with 
the two seats in the Borough, from 1727 to 1790. 

In 1695 Arthur Cooper, of Markree, a defeated candidate, 
petitioned against the return of Wingfield and Morgan, alleg- 
ing that he was duly elected instead of Morgan. In 1703 
William Ormsby petitioned against the return made by the 
Sheriff who had declared the above two gentlemen again duly 
elected. 'In 1719 Joshua Cooper claimed a seat instead of 
Francis Ormsby as returned by the Sheriff. In 1776 Mr. 
Wynne declined to nominate 1 William Ormsby, of Willowbrook, 

1 Nominees of patrons of Boroughs were expected to vote as the patron 
directed ; but some members of the old Irish Parliament were not exempt 
from political inconsistency. Curran, a great stickler for purity, offered a 
good example. " He first entered the House of Commons in Dublin as the 
nominee of Mr. Longfield, who was subsequently Lord Longueville. Curran 
sat for Kilbeggan ; but he stipulated that his action should be entirely un- 
shackled, and that the patron of the Borough should not presume to influence 
his vote. Mr. Longtield, looking upon the stipulation as a formality for the 
ease of Curran's conscience, consented. A time came, however, when the 
nominee's vote highly displeased the patron, and a quarrel ensued. Curran 
could not resign his seat, for Irish members had not then the opportunity 
which the stewardship of the Chiltern Hundreds aifords to legislators 
desirous of withdrawing from the responsibility of making laws; the honour- 
able member for Kilbeggan, nevertheless, had a remedy for the difficulty. 
The independent Irish patriot offered to purchase a borough and a represen- 
tative for it who should never vote but in accordance with Mr. LongfieWs 
directions /" 


who had sat as one of the members for the Borough from 1757 
to that date, and he, accordingly, together with Sir B. Gore, 
Bart., contested the County with the patron of the Borough and 
Mr. Cooper ; both the former were unsuccessful, but petitioned, 
alleging bribery, corruption, treating, and other undue in- 


The Eight Hon. Owen Wynne being unseated, thereupon a 
fresh election took place the following year, when Owen Wynne, 
Junr., was declared duly elected. A petition was lodged by 
Ormsby, but was unsuccessful; 1 and the Wynnes kept possession 
of the seat until 1790 ; but in that year Mr. Cooper defeated 
Mr. Wynne in a severely contested election ; so severe was the 
struggle that the Masonic Lodges in the town according to the 
records in their books did not meet for two months, "the 
majority of the members being unavoidably engaged in the 
election." In 1797 Mr. Wynne again came forward, and in 
his address, dated Hazlewood, 20th July, 1797, thanked the 
electors for the " very honourable, tho' unsuccessful support " 
he had experienced at the previous election. 

The families of O'Hara and Cooper next became paramount, 

1 There were charges and countercharges of "bribery and intimidation 
made by the opposing candidates. The following notice relative to the 
election appeared in the Sligo Journal : 

named, taking into our most serious consideration the atrocious ATTACK 
that has been lately made on the PRIVILEGES of many of the electors of 
the County of Sligo by some person or persons having secured or destroyed 
the REGISTRY BOOK containing a List of the forty-shilling Freeholders of 
said County, and being desirous of making manifest our just abhorrence of 
such an infamous transaction and of doing everything in our power that 
may tend towards discovering the AUTHOR or AUTHORS of such secretion or 
destruction, do hereby promise and engage, respectively, to pay such sum as 
is annexed to each of our names, to any person who is able to throw such 
light on the above abominable business, as may bring to open and public 
conviction the perpetrator or perpetrators of the same." July 2, 1778. 
The list is headed by 0. Wynne, candidate, for 56 17s. 6e?., Joshua Cooper 
and 0. Wynne for 22 15s. each; whilst the following gentlemen respec- 
tively guaranteed 5 13s. Qd. : Henry Hughes, Arthur Cooper, W. H. 
Cooper, Arthur Cooper, jun., Folliott Wynne, John Martin, Robert Lyons, 
Phil. Burne, Robert Hillas, Hyac. O'Rorke, Hen. Griffith, Wm. Gibson, 
sen., Robert Bolton. 


and retained the representation of the County for a lengthened 
period. In those times contested elections were frequently of pro- 
longed duration ; the freeholders had to he brought in from remote 
parts, each candidate paying all expenses of voters in his favour ; 
open house was kept, and the publicans reaped a rich harvest. 
It is recounted of a successful candidate that, shortly after his 
return to Parliament, he received from one of these publicans a 
bill amounting to 1030 "for entertaining his Honour's voters 
with black, red, and white wine " ! When the electioneering 
agent proceeded, amongst others, to settle the account in ques- 
tion, Boniface, on being questioned as to details, said, that if 
"his Honour" paid him "the thousand," he would knock of 
"the thirty." The agent retorted that supposing he (Boniface) 
received "the thirty," he would have to knock off "the thou- 
sand": such was the eventual settlement. 

These political contests were often decided by the superiority 
of a very few votes ; and towards the close of one of this nature, 
an extremely tall, immature-looking youth made his appearance, 
but the opposite party objected to his vote, alleging that he was 
under age. On his side arose shouts of " Poll him, poll him"; 
and the mob, imagining the expression to refer to the great 
height and lank or pole-like figure of the young man, burst 
into a roar of laughter whilst his vote was being recorded ; and 
to the end of his life that voter was so well known by the 
sobriquet of "Pole'm" that most people supposed it to be his 
baptismal name. 

In 1822, on the death of Mr. O'Hara, his son declined to 
offer himself for the representation of which his family had held 
undisputed possession, in the Independent interest, for nearly 
forty years. Upon his refusal there ensued the most bitterly 
contested election that ever took place in the County ; and it 
resulted in the return of the Hon. Henry King and the defeat 
of his opponent, Colonel Perceval. The date for commencing 
the election happened to fall on a Saturday ; but the law then 
gave power of adjourning to the succeeding day Sunday inter- 
vening. An application was made to allow one man on each 
side to poll, the reason assigned being that there was an elderly 



gentleman from the County Eoscommon whom it would be 
inconvenient to detain. The titular Bishop of Killala was then 
brought forward a measure intended to produce a religious 
effect upon the electors; and, therefore, with a view of main- 
taining perfect impartiality on both sides, the High Sheriff, 
Colonel Irwin, refused to allow any poll to be taken till the 
Monday. In this election religious feeling was greatly ex- 
cited : the military had to fire on the mob, who pelted them, 
and one of the officers was severely injured. "Stones were 
flying as fast as hailstones : it was some time before the riot 
could be quelled ; however, the soldiers' firing had the effect of 
stopping the practice of stone-throwing afterwards." 

In distant parts of the County, roads were either cut or had 
walls built across them during the night, by the peasantry, in 
order to prevent cars from reaching Sligo with voters in time 
to be safely housed and protected from intimidation before night- 
fall; the houses of electors were visited by mobs for the purpose 
of warning them to vote only as directed. In the streets of 
the town, during successive days, there was more or less rioting; 
and in the booths were to be heard scuffling, wrangling, intem- 
perate language, charges of bribery, partiality, and intimidation. 

As the candidates ran a neck-and-neck race the polling was 
watched with the greatest interest, for it was but the renewal of 
the struggle of 1790, when the Wynne family lost the seat 
the war-cry of the opposing factions being " Wynne and Per- 
ceval," "Martin and King," thus bringing into prominence 
the names of the supporters of the respective candidates. 

The local papers were filled with accounts of the trials of 
persons indicted at the ensuing spring assizes for riot. One 
witness, an ex- drummer, described himself as " poet and ballad- 
singer " to one of the candidates. " I am told," said the lawyer, 
who cross-examined him, " that you were a noisy fellow." 
" Yes, sir," replied the ex-soldier, " I used to beat the tattoo ! " 

When the non- success of Perceval became apparent, a plot 
was laid to entangle Mr. Martin the Hon. Henry King's 
most ardent supporter in a legal dilemma. A man was 
employed by his political opponents to create a disturbance at 


his residence, which the owner naturally resenting, the man 
was forcibly ejected from the house, and for this Mr. Martin 
was superseded in the Commission of the Peace, but was after- 
wards reinstated, on correct representation being made of the 
real facts of the incident. 

In consequence of the Earl of Kingston, elder brother of 
the Hon. Henry King, having taken a very active part in 
this election of 1822, a petition was presented to the House of 
Commons by an elector of Sligo, complaining of a breach of 
privilege, and praying for an inquiry ; a petition alleging 
bribery was also presented, but was not proceeded with. 

The following epigram on the statement " that the honesty 
and sense of the County of Sligo " was represented by its 
members, was composed and circulated in 1829, before the 
election of the following year : 

If your members are a sample fair, of all that's good and great, 
Picked out with care to mark the worth of Sligo to the State, 
Herein your County's honesty and sense you may discover 
Since King doth represent the one, as Cooper doth the other ! " 

In 1829 an enormous reduction was made in the number of 
electors in the County by the disfranchisement of the forty- 
shilling freeholders, who had possessed the right of voting under 
terminable leases as well as those in perpetuity. Previous to 
the time when the question of Catholic Emancipation was 
finally decided, Irish landlords relied on their forty-shilling 
freeholders. It did not enter into the imagination of the 
former that the freeholders would ever vote against them ; and 
during a very long period it as little entered into the conception 
of the freeholders that they could vote against the landlords ; 
" and political gratitude was never so unpleasantly exempli- 
fied as in the fact that the candidates who were returned by 
their votes acquiesced, in 1 V 829, in the proposal to deprive them 
of their franchise." 

In 1830 an attack was made on the Conservative seats. 
Cooper was proposed by Charles K. O'Hara, seconded by John 


Armstrong ; King was proposed by the Hon. Edward Wing- 
field, seconded by James Wood; French was proposed by 
Captain Hillas, seconded by Daniel Jones. Mobs paraded the 
streets of Sligo ; and on the 17th August the result of three 
days polling was declared as follows : Edward Joshua Cooper, 
465 ; General King, 385 ; Fitzstephen French, 116. 

From 1830 to 1841, and again from 1857 to 1859, Edward 
Joshua Cooper represented the County in Parliament. He was 
born in 1798 ; and after spending some years at Armagh and 
Eton, entered Christ Church College, Oxford, where he remained 
but two years, when he started on a lengthened series of travels. 
In 1821 he engaged an Italian artist, and visited Egypt, the 
result of his journey being published under the title of Views of 
Egypt and Nubia. In 1824-5 he traversed Denmark, Sweden 
and Norway, as far as the North Cape. Mr. Cooper kept 
meteorological registers at Markree, but owing to his frequent 
absences they were very imperfect until 1833. Becoming 
manager of the property on the death of his father in 1830, he 
at once took steps towards founding an observatory, which he 
intended to endow, in order to ensure its permanent utility. 
Mr. Cooper was elected a Fellow of the Eoyal Society in 1853, 
and in 1858 received the Cunningham Medal of the Eoyal Irish 
Academy for his Catalogue of Ecliptic Stars. He died on the 
23rd April, 1863. "His personal qualities were of a high order, 
and he was accomplished in many ways ; but his zeal for science 
did not lead him to neglect the duties of his position, for he was 
a kind and good landlord, making great exertions to educate and 
improve his tenantry." l 

On the 17th May, 1831, Perceval again contested the repre- 
sentation of Sligo, and at the close of the poll the numbers 
were : E. J. Cooper, 361 ; Colonel Alexander Perceval, 287 ; 
the Hon. General King, 191. The successful candidates were 
chaired round the town, with bands playing, and all the displays 
then usual at the termination of a contested election. " Eeligious 

1 The Observatory : a Monthly Review of Astronomy, volume vn 
pp. 283, 329. 


and political animosity prevail to a considerable extent in Sligo," 
writes Inglis in 1834 ; " this I have generally found to be the 
case in Ireland whenever there is not an overwhelming majority 
on one side.' 7 In 1837 the county was again contested, the 
result being as follows : Edward Joshua Cooper, 511 ; Colonel 
Alexander Perceval, 443 ; Daniel Jones, 368 ; Charles Joseph 
M'Dermott, 6. 

An amusing anecdote is related of Perceval after this con- 
test. He had taken a seat in the omnibus connected with the 
coach in which he was booked for London ; there was but one 
seat vacant, and he said to a gentleman sitting next the door, 
" Pray keep the seat for me," and placed his umbrella and cap 
on it, while he looked after his luggage. On his return he 
found " the unknown " resisting the entrance of any other 
passengers, and took his seat. He soon heard O'Connell's well- 
known voice exclaiming, " Colonel Perceval, you are in a great 
minority in this omnibus." The Colonel was equal to the occa- 
sion, for he retorted, " Well, you'll see that I shall keep my 
seat, nevertheless, as I did at Sligo, though opposed by all the 

Party spirit in this (1837) and the following year, ran 
excessively high. The sheriff, Sir William Parke, placed on 
the grand jury every possible member of the Liberal party, 
commencing at the bottom of the panel, thus excluding most of 
the members who usually attended the assizes. For so acting, 
and for not having called representatives for baronies, he was 
fined by the Judge of Assize, before whom the matter was 

Sligo then, and for long after, remained thoroughly Con- 
servative, owing to the good feeling that existed between 
landlords and tenants, and also to a majority of the voters 
being Protestant. In 1845 O'Connell stated that "Sligo 
County was in a bad way," i. e. according to his view of the 
subject ; and he visited it for the purpose of stirring up a con- 
test not with any hopes of winning either seat, but with the 
avowed intention of making the Conservatives spend money. 
In 1841 William Richard Ormsby Gore, Jun., became member 


in the place of Mr. Cooper, who did not seek re-election, and 
the same year John Ffolliott succeeded Perceval, who had heen 
appointed Sergeant-at-Arms to the House of Lords. The 
representation remained unaltered until 1850, when Ffolliott, 
having accepted the Chiltern Hundreds, Sir Eobert Gore- 
Booth, Bart., was elected without opposition. In 1852 the 
Liberals again contested the County, and succeeded in carrying 
one seat. The result of the poll was as follows : Sir Eobert 
Gore-Booth, Bart., 942; Richard Swift, 875 ; William Richard 
Ormsby Gore, 774 ; John Taaffe, 39. In 1857, at the next 
election, the numbers polled were : for Sir Robert Gore-Booth, 
Bart., and Edward Joshua Cooper, 1434 each; John Ball, 304; 
Richard Swift, 5. 

In 1859 Charles W. Cooper O'Hara was elected, vice 
Edward Joshua Cooper, who declined to be re-nominated; 
whilst in 1865, Mr. O'Hara retired from the representation of 
the county, owing to ill-health, and was succeeded by Colonel 
E. H. Cooper. During three years the representation of the 
county (i. e. Booth and Cooper) remained unaltered, but in 1868 
the Liberals again wrested one seat, the numbers being : Denis 
Maurice O'Connor, 1722 ; Sir Robert Gore-Booth, 1219 ; 
Colonel Edward Henry Cooper, 1125. In 1877, on the 
death of Sir Robert Gore-Booth, Colonel Edward Robert 
King-Harman was elected in his place without contest as a 
Liberal-Conservative. Both seats were captured by the 
Liberals in the General Election of 1880, Thomas Sexton 
polling 1591, Denis Maurice O'Connor 1551, and Edward 
Robert King-Harman 1261. The Right Hon. Colonel King- 
Harman died June, 1888. Towards the conclusion of his life 
he laboured for Ireland with zeal and purity of purpose. 
Denis Maurice O'Connor died in 1883 ; towards the latter 
years of his political career he was no favourite with the ultra- 
Radical party, as he occasionally showed that he could still hold 
to his own opinions. One of his political opponents thus writes 
of him : " He made a favourable impression upon the House of 
Commons, for he was a clever, good, solid speaker, and even to 
those who had opposed his election he was courteous and always 



displayed an anxiety to serve his constituents individually and 

On his decease, the representation was contested by Charles 
Iv. O'Hara, jun., and Nicholas Lynch, and with the following 
result : Lynch, 1545 ; O'Hara, 980. Mr. O'Hara had seem- 
ingly every prospect of success ; if promises were to be relied 
on, he had a clear majority ; but as the old classic orator said, 
" the ballot is dear to the people, for it covers men's faces and 
conceals their thoughts ; it gives them the opportunity of doing 
what they like, and promising all that they are asked." A cele- 
brated English wit remarks that the ballot would bring to pass 
that which David said only in his wrath, and make all men liars. 

On the Redistribution of Seats the county was divided into 
two districts. North Sligo consisted of the Barony of Carbury, 
the Barony of Tireragh, and the parishes of Ballysadare and 
Killoran, in the Barony of Leyny ; the remainder of the county 
formed the electoral division of South Sligo. 

In 1885 both divisions of the County were contested ; but 
owing to the enormous increase of the electorate the Conser- 
vatives were, as a political party in Sligo, completely out- 
numbered. North Sligo, Peter M'Donald, 5216 ; Colonel 
Ffolliott, 772. South Sligo, Thomas Sexton, 5150 ; Alexander 
Perceval, 541. The number of voters in "North Sligo," with 
a population of 54,657, amounted to 8591 ; " South Sligo " 
with a population of 56,921 had an electorate of 8447. 

The old franchise consisted of a 12 rated occupancy, or 
other qualifications equivalent to it, but under the present 
system, although there is a nominal 10 rating, yet the 
" inhabitant occupier " clause admits the occupier to the privi- 
lege of voting, even if he be unrated. The only disqualifica- 
tions are that he must be in receipt of Poor-law relief or if a 
ratepayer, his rates must not have been paid. Also in order 
to entitle him to vote in both divisions of the County he 
requires to be duly qualified in each. 

For the Borough of Sligo the early Members of Parliament 
would appear, with the exception of Sir Eoger Jones, 1634, and 


Kean O'Hara, 1639, to have been strangers, or comparative 
strangers; for Batoliffe, though possessing property in Sligo, 
resided in Dublin. To vote for the return of the two members 
for the Borough, the qualification required was not merely to 
be a freeman, but also a burgess. This difficulty, however, 
was readily overcome by making the voter at the same meeting 
first a freeman, and then a burgess. 

Judging by the seal struck in 1709, and the subsequent 
succession of Provosts, the family of De Butt either enjoyed 
predominent political power in the borough, or they were 
nominees of the dominant faction. It should be borne in mind 
that though the Corporation, which consisted of only twelve 
burgesses, elected the Provost annually, yet the burgesses 
themselves were elected for life ; and they elected each 
other, so that if any one family succeeded in having more 
than six of his relations or friends created burgesses, the 
ultimate supremacy of that clique was inevitable, and the Cor- 
poration then became a "pocket-borough," to be utilized either 
for political purposes, or to be disposed of by private agreement, 
to some aspirant to a seat in Parliament. 

A crisis in the fate of the borough occurred on the 27th 
August, 1722, when, John De Butt being Provost, Sir Francis 
Lycester sent in his resignation as burgess, was accordingly 
disfranchised, and Samuel Burton elected in his stead. In the 
books of the Corporation the entries with regard to this are as 
follows : 


"August the 27^, 1722. 

" "We the Provost and free Burgesses of the said Borough being met, 
pursuant to a publication posted upon the Market Cross, the nineteenth 
day of August instant, for an election of a Burgess this day, and waited 
the appointed hour in the appointed place ; the resignation of Sir Francis 
Lycester was openly read. And having proceeded to disfranchise Sir 
Francis Lycester pursuant to the said resignation, and he is hereby dis- 
franchised. And coming to an election of a Burgess in the room and 
place of the said Sir Francis Lycester, we do unanimously elect and 
choose Samuel Burton, Esq., he being a sworn freeman of the said 
Corporation, to be a free burgess of the said Corporation, in the room 


and place of the said Sir Francis Lycester aforesaid. As witness our 
hands the day and year above written, 

"JOHN DE BUTT, Provost. 


"BOEOUGH OF SLIGO, August the 27th, 1722. 

" The above-named Samuel Burton, Esq., sworn one of the free 
Burgesses of the above Corporation according to the above election of 
the 27th of August, 1722. 

"JOHN DEBUTT, Provost. 

"GEOEGE BENNETT (Recorder $ Town Clerk.)" 

So matters remained until the election of the new Provost 
in October of the same year, when Mitchelburn Knox was 
selected for the post. This new Provost convened an assembly 
of the burgesses who declared the previous disfranchisement of 
Sir Francis Lycester and the appointment of Samuel Burton to 
have been illegally conducted, and proceeded to go over the 
affair de novo. 

"BOEOUGH or SLIGO, the llth day of October, 1722. 

" Whereas an assembly of the Burgesses of this Corporation having 
met this day, at the County Hall, in the Borough of Sligo : A true 
Copy of the resignation of Sir Francis Lycester, Bart., sworn and 
attested by William Mendey, Notary Public, and confirmed by the 
oaths of Mitchelburn Knox, Esq., our present Provost, and Capt. John 
Wynne, being openly read in a Court of the free Burgesses of the said 
Borough, duly summoned. We the Provost and free Burgesses (having 
first demanded the original resignation lodged with Mr. John De Butt, 
late Provost of Sligo aforesaid) which he has absolutely refused to 
deliver to the present Provost. Being therefore obliged to proceed 
without the said original resignation, in order to elect a free Burgess 
in the room of Sir Francis Lycester, Bart., who is hereby removed 
from being any longer a free Burgess in the said Borough of Sligo, 
and deprived of any rights, privileges, and immunities thereunto belong- 
ing. And our present Provost, Mitchelburn Knox, Esq., is hereby 
required to post up, and give public notice of the vacancy of a 
Burgess-ship in our said Borough, and to appoint a time and place 
of election pursuant to Act of Parliament. 


1 In all extracts herein given from the books of the Corporation, the 
spelling has been modernized. 


An attested copy of Sir Francis Lycester's resignation is 
attached to the proceedings, and commences in these words: 
" Whereas I am elected, and am a burgess of the Abbeyville 
or town of Sligo in the County of Sligo," &c. 

In compliance with the above order, the Provost convened a 
meeting, and the notice was also "posted up on y e Market 
Cross." At this meeting the Eight Hon. Major- General Owen 
Wynne was unanimously elected a burgess vice Lycester re- 
signed. The Wynne family having now secured the majority, 
George Bennett who had taken the part of De Butt was 
asked what time he required " to show reason why he should 
not be disfranchised and removed from his burgess-ship for his 
manifest misbehaviour," evidently waxed irate, informed the 
majority that they could not disfranchise him, that they " did 
not know how to disfranchise, and that he defied them to dis- 
franchise him, and behaved himself with great contempt of the 
assembly, and endeavoured to provoke several of the particular 
members of the assembly to use him ill." The matter was soon 
brought to an issue by the meeting there and then turning him 
out m et armis, disfranchising him, and electing Mr. Thomas 
Jennings in his place to be Recorder and Town Clerk. 

The same meeting sent to Mr. John DeButt a notice "to 
show cause why he should not be disfranchised and removed 
from his place of free burgess of the said Corporation of Sligo 
for his manifest misbehaviour." His reply was as follows : 

" SLIGO, Oct. 23rd, 1722. 

"I received your summons requiring me to appear "before you, on 
Tuesday, the 23rd Instant, to show cause why I should not be dis- 
franchised for my manifest misbehaviour. I know no cause if it be 
not for the conscientious discharge of my duty, as an honest magistrate, 
according to my oath, and would have waited on you this day to satisfy 
you, before all, with you present, of the manifest truth of my assertion, 
but for fear of being insulted and assaulted, as I was before you in the 
last discharge of my duty, and for fear of being turned out by the 
shoulders, and sent to the stocks by you as one of my Brethren was 
ordered to be and all this and much more, is no misbehaviour in 


these favourites of yours. And to avoid the like treatment both I 
and my Brother had in your presence, without the least resentment, 
is the cause 

" I do not wait on you in person, that am, 

" Worshipful Sir, 

" Your most humble servant, 


" To the Worshipful MITCHELBURN KNOX, Esq., 
" Provost of Sligo." 

The Provost's answer ran thus : 


11 Oct. 23rd, 1722. 

" I received yours, which I don't think a sufficient answer for not 
attending according to your summons ; for you say you fear being 
insulted and treated ill, which I assure from all that are met here, 
that you shall meet with all the civility that you can expect, you 
behaving yourself to us in the same manner, and not like your late 
Brother Bennett, as you term him. So expect you'll attend according 
to your summons of the 19th Instant. 
" I am Sir, 

" Your humble servant, 


De Butt replied thus : 

" SLIGO, Oct. 23rd, 1722. 

" I perceive the assurance you give me of being protected from 
insults. I might have expected that, the last time I was with you, 
but it did not. I shall be prepared soon to fear none, and when I 
am, I will wait on you and the rest of my brethren, at this time. I 
hope what I have offered, together that I am obliged to send a great 
deal by post this night, will be a sufficient reason for not waiting on 
you at this time. 

" I am, worshipful Sir, 

" Your most humble servant, 


As might be expected, nothing De Butt could urge was of 
any avail : he was expelled ; and a meeting was summoned for 



the 31st of the same month to elect two new burgesses vice 
De Butt and Bennett disfranchised. At this meeting Captain 
John Wynne and Major John Ffolliott were elected burgesses ; 
and in this manner the Borough of Sligo became de facto the 
property of the Wynne family. 

Strange to narrate, it was not until four years subsequently, 
when every burgess present was either by marriage or other 
ties connected with the Patron of the Borough, that the election 
of Samuel Burton was formally annulled : the resolution ran 
as follows : 

"The above Act not being according to the laws and usage of the 
Corporation, 'tis this day ordered to be rased out of the public acts of 
the Corporation by the Provost and Burgesses in Council assembled. 

" Given under our hands, this 24th of June, 1726. 

" OWEN WYNNE, Provost. 

"Mitchelburn Knox; George Ormsby; John Jameson; Thomas 
Jennings ; "W. Ormsby ; Richard Gore ; John Booth." 

By the Act of Union the representation of the Borough of 
Sligo was reduced to one member. All patrons of boroughs, 
however, received pecuniary recompense for their loss. 1 

Thus, prior to the Eeform Bill of 1832, the Members for 
the Borough of Sligo were, from the year 1722, returned by 
the Wynne family. The old government of the Provost and 
twelve burgesses having been swept away by the Reform Bill, 
the number of voters on the new and reformed register is stated 
to have been 41 8, 2 as compared with 695 on the county 

1<( Mr. Wynne is the patron of the Borough; he is the person that 
received compensation at the time of the Union." Corporation Inquiry , 

2 The 2 William IV. c. 88 extended the franchise to 10 householders, 
under which, in 1834, there were registered 694 electors ; in 1849, they in- 
creased to 715 ; in 1851, under 13 & 14 Viet. c. 69, they decreased to 336, 
less than one half of the former number ; and in 1853 they increased to 351, 
of whom there were two burgesses of the old Corporation, 337 rated occupiers, 
and 12 otherwise qualified. 


register by comparison a large numerical preponderance in 
favour of the smaller and more youthful constituency. 

In the year 1828 a " Brunswick Club " was established in 
Sligo, the President being the Hon. Colonel Wingfield, and 
this political combination spread rapidly through the county, 
branches being formed at all the small towns and centres of 
Protestant population. 

On O'Connell's visit to Sligo, during the Summer Assizes 
of 1828, he was entertained at a public banquet in "the new 
Catholic Free-School," and about one hundred and thirty 
sat down to dinner. The Catholic Emancipation question was 
warmly taken up in Sligo, Roman Catholic and Protestant 
meetings being of frequent occurrence. In the year 1829 the 
rnob broke the windows of almost every Protestant householder 
in Sligo. In 1831 Eeform and anti-Befonn meetings were 
held in the town ; and the throwing open of the Borough to 
popular representation was naturally opposed most strenuously 
by Mr. Wynne. A very important demonstration was held in 
the Court House, llth January, 1832 ; although designated an 
An ti- Eeform meeting, yet speakers on both sides were allowed 
a hearing. 

So early as 1828, when Eeform was on the tapis, Mr. John 
Martin had been nominated by the moderate Liberals to contest 
the representation of the borough with Mr. Wynne. He was 
not considered by some to be a politician of sufficiently advanced 
type, and as such O'Connell objected to him, concluding his 
speech thus : " My hostility to Mr. Martin is by no means 
personal ; on the contrary, he is a gentleman for whom I enter- 
tain personal regard." However, the time for the contest drew 
on, and no candidate more pleasing to O'Connell was obtained. 
At the hustings the electors were reminded of the time when a 
bundle of rushes or even a horse-load of brooms could not enter 
the town without paying toll; and their worthy ex-Provost had 
been compelled to appear one night at an entertainment in very 
shabby lower-garments, because the smart new attire intended 
for the occasion had been detained at the toll-gate for want of 
the bearer being provided with the sum of two-pence needful to 



pay for entitling it to be admitted within the borough. 1 Fre- 
quently, too, their so-called representatives knew little or nothing 
of Sligo had never been there : one of them in his place in the 
House having described it as a small fishing-village in the West 
of Ireland. 2 On both sides the canvassing had been most 
vigorous, and the election commenced on the 17th December, 
1832. During the three days of the contest there was fearful 
rioting, the town being alternately occupied by the opposing 
mobs, according as either side momentarily gained numerical 
preponderance; at the close of the third day, Thursday, the 
20th December, the poll was declared : Mr. John Martin, 213 
votes; Mr. Wynne, 158. On the 9th January, 1835, there 
was again a General Election, when the former was returned 

Earl Mulgrave then Lord Lieutenant of Ireland having 
announced his intention of visiting Sligo, the Liberals resolved 
to give him a reception, and applied to the High Sheriff, James 
Knott, of Battlefield, for the use of the Court-house, which was 
refused by him, and in consequence he was superseded in the 
commission of the peace. On the 23rd August, 1836, the trades 
processionists, with wands, scarfs, belts, and banners, marched a 
few miles out of the town to Ballysadare and Collooney, but His 
Excellency did not enter Sligo till six in the evening ; he was 
met by a deputation from the Liberals, who presented him 
with an address, and at night the town was illuminated. On 
the next day the Lord Lieutenant conferred the honour of 
knighthood on Colonel William Parke, 3 of Dunally, and visited 

1 According to the evidence given before the Commission in 1833, every- 
thing brought in for sale paid toll, even to cabbage plants, gooseberries, 
nails, hats, and brogues. 

2 History, it is said, repeats itself ; for the present representatives of the 
County are strangers to the locality, have no personal interest therein, and 
but for the facilities of railway travelling would be equally ignorant 
whether Sligo should rank as a mere fishing- village or a thriving com- 
mercial town. 

3 Sir William Parke, lived to an advanced age, and died at his resi- 
dence, Dunally, 31st August, 1851. As a magistrate and grand juror of 
the County, he was known for his independence and public spirit, although 


the County Jail, when he released twenty-three prisoners. 
There was a great deal of party-feeling displayed on this 
occasion, but almost all the Protestant gentry and yeomanry 
held aloof. 

On the 24th January, 1837, Daniel O'Connell visited Sligo 
shortly hef ore the General Election, for the purpose of unseating, 
if possible, Perceval and Cooper from the County and Martin 
from the Borough. As a specimen of O'Connell's style of 
oratory, the following extract from his speech is here given. 
He informed his audience that " they had already hunted a 
Fox (i. e. Lane-Fox) from one County, and they had now to 
hunt another from this (County Sligo) ; but he was sure that 
Fox-hunting was not half so good as Martin -hunting ; . . . and 
as to Colonel Perceval, they would leave him at home to mind 
the potatoes for he was a potato-faced fellow ; . . . and as to 
Mr. Cooper, unless he behaved himself better, they would leave 
him at home to make a cask for Colonel Perceval's red 
herrings." 1 

Hard hitting was not confined to one side : the following 
lines had previously appeared in the Sligo Journal on O'Connell 
having refused to either fight or apologize to an opponent : 

" O'Connell will not fight and why ? 
Because O'Connell fears to die ; 
Nor will he cease offence to give, 
Because by that he hopes to live ; 
Yain hope ! who like a coward flies, 
May save his life, his honour dies ! " 

always zealous in support of his own views, which were ultra-Liberal. Early 
in life he had entered the army as an Ensign in the 83rd Foot in 1791 ; in 
1794 he accompanied his regiment to the West Indies, served in the Rebellion 
in Ireland, afterwards in the expedition to the Helder in 1799, and the Duke 
of York's Campaign in North Holland, and was present at all the different 
general engagements; served in the expedition to Egypt under Sir R. 
Abercromby, was present in Portugal at the battle of Vimiera, served the 
entire campaign, and was wounded at Corunna ; took part in the expedition 
to Walcheren, the siege of Flushing, and the Campaign of 1811 in the 

1 When Colonel Perceval was in the regiment, the Sligo Militia wore a 
red uniform. 


In 1837 the representation of the Borough was warmly 
contested, Mr. John Martin being supported by the moderate 
Liberals and by the Conservatives. On the declaration of the 
poll on Thursday, the 3rd August, John Patrick Somers was 
returned by 262 votes to 208. During the registry of voters' 
claims, prior to this election, before the Revising Barrister 
(Hartstonge Eobinson), a radical applicant was asked by 
Counsellor Casserly for his title-deed, when the Precursor, with 
an air of gravity and self-confidence, handed over to the learned 
counsel a huge bludgeon which he held in his hand, at the 
same time exclaiming, amidst the general laughter of a crowded 
Court, " Here is my title- deed." 

On the 9th July, 1841, John Patrick Somers was, without 
opposition, again returned member for the borough ; politics ran 
high ; the Eepeal movement was then in full swing ; and on the 
4th May, 1843, O'Connell held a mass meeting in Sligo ; in the 
evening he was entertained at a dinner in the Hibernian Hotel, 
and on both occasions he delivered a characteristic speech. 
Amongst a variety of other topics he stated that England had 
tried to ignore the agitation until " a chap of the name of Lane- 
Fox -a poor man who had more strength than brains; a Fox by 
name but not by nature, for there was no cunning in him 
came out with his notice of motion to have it suppressed. . . . 
Oh ! was it not worth while struggling for Eepeal to gag a 
fellow of that kind." 

At a meeting of the Eepeal Association held in Dublin on 
the 24th November, 1845, O'Connell read a communication 
from the " Eepeal " members of the Town Council of Sligo, by 
which they pledged " themselves, one and all, on good faith and 
honour, that in future every question arising in the Corporation 
and Borough should be determined on and acted on by the 
decision of the majority of the Eepealers without any reference 
to, or deriving any assistance from, the Non-Eepeal or Tory 

On the 4th August, 1847, John Patrick Somers was again 
returned as member for the borough, but in 1848 he was un- 
seated on petition ; and in April there was a new election, his 



opponent being Charles Townley, of Townley, County of Lan- 
caster a gentleman reputed to be very wealthy. Townley was 
supported by the priests, and is reputed to have laid out immense 
sums of money. "If he buys men from the priests, he may 
sell them to the minister if he chooses," was about the wittiest 
thing said against him. Townley was returned by a majority 
of seven votes, but he was unseated on petition. In the evidence 
given before a Committee of the House of Commons, a Mr. Cant- 
well, Mr. Townley's agent, stated that he took up his quarters 
at the hotel in Sligo, having left his lodgings on account of 
their filthy condition : the house was one of the dirtiest in the 
town, and there were fleas in it. " I dare say if the fleas had 
been unanimous they would have pulled you out of bed," face- 
tiously observed the cross-examining counsel. " Well, they might 
have done that," retorted Mr. Cantwell. This retort was pro- 
bably suggested by the anecdote told of Curran, who used to 
declare that if a house was infested with fleas they always flew 
to his bedchamber, when they heard he was to sleep there ! and 
once, when making complaint to his landlady in the morning, 
he exclaimed, "By heaven, Madam, they were in such num- 
bers, and seized upon my carcase with so much ferocity, that if 
they had been unanimous, and all pulled one way, they must 
have dragged me out of bed entirely." 

In the new election on the 15th July, 1848, John Patrick 
Joiners was returned at the head of the poll, with 102 votes ; 
James Hartley, 90 ; John Ball, 87 ; the constituency at this 
period numbered 292. At the dissolution of 1852 the conflict 
between Somers and Townley was renewed, much, it was alleged, 
having been effected in the interval to make the return of the 
latter secure ; after a bitter contest Townley was declared on 
the 15th July to have obtained a majority at the poll, i. e. 147 
votes to Somers's 108. The latter again petitioned, and upon 
proof of corruption still stronger than before, Townley was again 
unseated. Sligo had now long been viewed as a sink of poli- 
tical corruption, and as notoriously " one of the most rotten 
boroughs in Ireland"; the cant term for bribery was to 
" strengthen the electors." 


In this contest the friars of Sligo were supporters of, and 
canvassers for, Somers; whilst the priests were supporters of, and 
canvassers for, Townley : when therefore the latter was unseated 
for bribery, great was the rejoicing of the friars, and many 
poetic ( ? ) pieces appeared in print. One sung to the air of 
" The Green Immortal Shamrock " commenced thus : 

" Through Erin's Isle to sport awhile, 
As Charles Townley wandered," &c. 

Then followed several verses ; and one of them, after describing 
some quarrelling over the spoils, continues thus : 

" Then Father # # # cries, ' Come, boys, come ; 
Your quarrels, I'll decide them ; 
Secure the Tin, and out, or in, 
The proceeds we'll divide them.' " 

On the 7th July, 1853, there was a fresh election. The con- 
stituency is said to have then numbered 336, but the real total 
fell somewhat short of that figure. Somers was opposed by the 
afterwards notorious John Sadleir, who had failed in being 
returned for Carlow. Sadleir polled 152 votes to Somers's 142 ; 
the latter petitioned, but was unsuccessful. On the 18th 
February, 1856, the dead body of John Sadleir was found on 
Hampstead Heath, and it was stated that he had committed 
suicide ; at the same time, however, stories were afloat asserting 
that it was not his body that was discovered, but that he had 
fled the country in order to escape his very serious liabilities 
which were subsequently discovered to be something enormous, 
and the available assets to be of comparatively microscopic- 

In the Borough, some of his own political party were 
thoroughly disgusted with Somers, who had come to look on 
the seat to be as much his private property as had the Wynne 
family in former years. The Conservatives put forward the 
lit. Hon. John Wynne (Under-Secretary during the Vice- 
royalty of the Earl of Eglinton), and a subscription was raised to 
bring in their candidate " free of cost to himself." As regards 


bribery this was one of the few pure contests in Sligo ; Wynne 
from principle would not spend money, whilst Somers had not 
any to dispense. Before going to the poll Somers is alleged to 
have made several overtures to gentlemen of Liberal opinions, 
stating that he would retire on " getting a gratuity " ; that he 
had expended about 1000 on the Borough, and that he should 
be recouped. One of the would-be candidates, on having this 
explained to him, refused the offer with indignation, and with 
truth exclaimed, " This is a standing thing in the Borough, and 
you will never have peace or comfort until it is rooted out." 

At the election on the 7th March, 1856, John Patrick Somers 
was declared duly elected by 150 votes to 144; but on petition 
the seat was given to Mr. Wynne, he having had in reality a 
majority of 30. Probably, nothing in the annals of electioneer- 
ing has ever been recorded which could rival the narrative as 
given in the records before the Committee of the House, or in 
the legal proceedings subsequent on the disclosures then re- 
counted. It was proved that one of the principal officials and 
his assistants had, in the poll books, taken off votes from Mr. 
Wynne and placed them to the credit of Somers, to whom also 
were assigned voters who had never even entered the poll booths; 
whilst at the same time large mobs, armed with sticks and dis- 
charging fire-arms, paraded the streets during the polling when 
the populace held possession of the place. Mobs in all the 
elections were hired ; they would not turn on their heel unless 
they got money. On occasions, when they had not been paid, 
or payment was refused, they have been known to use the 
threat that they would go on the other side and fight for 
them; indeed it may be said that a Sligo mob considered 100 
a-night very little for them ; they expected from five shillings 
to seven shilings and sixpence per man such was the evidence 
given before the Commissioners appointed to report on the cor- 
rupt practices in the Borough of Sligo. 

At the Spring Assizes of 1858, all the officials implicated in 
the election malpractices were tried on a charge of conspiracy 
to procure by unlawful means the return of John Patrick Somers, 
and after a most careful investigation they were found guilty, 


and sentenced to various terms of imprisonment a heavy fine 
being in one instance superadded. An appeal against this de- 
cision was carried to the Superior Courts, but the sentences were 
confirmed. Some Conservative votes had been refused when 
tendered; and one of the persons so treated, on bringing an 
action for damages, received a verdict for 100. 

The election on the 6th May, 1859, 1 passed off in such com- 
parative quiet that it was styled "the model election"; Mr. 
Wynne was returned by 177 votes, Somers polled but 73, and 
Lucas A. Treston, 3. 

In 1860 Mr. Wynne resigned his seat, his health not per- 
mitting him to attend to his Parliamentary duties. Francis 
Macdonogh, Q.C., who succeeded him in the representation, had, 
on previous occasions, unsuccessfully canvassed several Borough 
constituencies. It was alleged that, like the chameleon, he had 
changed his colours according to locality "He's a Eadical in 
London, a rebel in Carlow, a Whig in Carrickfergus, a Conser- 
vative in Sligo." 

His opponent in Sligo was E. K. Tenison ; but as Somers still 
persevered in obtruding himself on the constituency, Tenison's 
chance of success was destroyed. "We find," state the Commis- 
sioners of the Sligo Election Inquiry, "that Colonel Tenison 
retired in consequence of its being intimated to him on the night 
before the election, that, unless 600 or 700 were forthcoming 
for distribution amongst about twenty-five of the Liberal voters, 
there was no use in going to the poll." And on the 9th 
August, Macdonogh was declared member with 157 votes; 
O'Eeilly, 5 ; Somers, only 2. The latter was hooted by the 
mob, accused of having politically sold the Borough, and of 
various other alleged acts detrimental to the Liberal party. He 
had to be protected by the military and police; and in this 
manner Somers disappeared from the political arena. He died 
December, 1862. 

In the election that took place on the 15th July, 1865, 
Macdonogh was defeated, having only 158 votes to 166 re- 

1 In 1859, the constituency was 360 ; in 1865, 312 ; in 1869, 520. 


corded for his opponent, Bichard Armstrong, S. L. The election 
terminated in an unexpected manner as there were a majority 
of Conservative voters on the registry. Macdonogh's political 
career in the Borough, though short, proved expensive ; for he 
stated, in his evidence hefore the Commissioners, that from the 
first day of his connexion with Sligo, until he paid all bills and 
all demands on him, he had sold out and expended 13,000. 

The night before the polling, according to the Eeport of the 
" Sligo Election Inquiry Commission," Macdonogh's election 
was judged by his principal supporters to be in great danger ; 
and a sum of 490 was advanced by one of his friends to be 
applied in influencing the votes of the wavering electors. Of this 
sum 423 was distributed among voters as a consideration for 
their having voted for Macdonogh; most of this money was 
paid some time after the election, but the doubtful voters were 
made aware, at the time of the contest, that money would be 
forthcoming. Macdonogh was cognizant of the transaction, 
and subsequently repaid the money advanced for him; his total 
expenditure at this election was 905, of which the above- 
mentioned sum of 490 formed part ; the residue was employed 
in defraying the legitimate expenses. Serjeant Armstrong 
expended on this election the sum of 2240 ; of this amount 
615 was applied in defraying the legitimate expenses, 140 
was distributed among mobs, and the residue (1480) was ex- 
pended in bribery. The whole of the last-mentioned sum was 
paid some eight or nine months after the election. About that 
time several applications were made to Serjeant Armstrong 
stating that his supporters were dissatisfied, and that some- 
thing was expected of him. The Serjeant's conducting agent 
and his agent for election expenses were sent down to the 
Borough in consequence of these communications ; and on 
their arrival had an interview with some of Serjeant Arm- 
strong's principal supporters. Lists were made out of the 
persons who should receive money, and the sums to be given, 
and 1480 was handed over to be distributed, which sum was 
subsequently repaid by Serjeant Armstrong, whose recollec- 
tion, derived from documents, was that the number of voters 


so bribed amounted to ninety-seven, on an average of a little 
over 15 5s. each. 

In 1868, consequent on a dissolution of Parliament, the 
Borough of Sligo was called on to select a member ; and the 
19th of November was appointed by the Mayor for taking 
the poll. Serjeant Armstrong did not again come forward. 
The candidates were Major Laurence E. Knox (at that time 
proprietor of the Irish Times) who, in the Conservative interest, 
contested the seat with John W. Flanagan, in the Liberal 
interest. The contest was severe, and excited much ill-feeling 
between the rival parties. As early as eight o'clock on the day 
of the polling the police and military had to be called into 
requisition to prevent rioting and violence to voters, it being 
then by law open voting. There had been drafted into the 
town 340 police, twenty mounted men, two troops of cavalry, 
and three companies of infantry; and this force was barely 
sufficient, for " on the morning of the election," states an eye- 
witness, " I saw a mob come down the street and take posses- 
sion of it that would terrify an army, every man with a cudgel 
or weapon. There were three thousand of them I am sure." 
Subsequently a sum of 1300 was allowed by the Grand Jury 
for malicious injuries to property inflicted by the mob. 

Each person who recorded his vote contrary to the interest 
of those opposed to him, was saluted with strong marks of 
disapprobation by the partisans of his opponent. About nine 
o'clock in the morning Captain King was shot dead close to 
the Courthouse, when making his way through the mob for the 
purpose of recording his vote for Major Knox, and several of 
the friends who accompanied him were subjected to rough 

Major Knox was that evening declared duly elected by a 
majority of twelve votes, the numbers being, Knox, 241 ; 
Flanagan, 229. The voters at this, the last election for the 
Borough, consisted of householders, freemen, and lodgers ; the 
two latter classes were insignificant in number, there being but 
one freeman and three lodgers. Of the 520 voters only 75 
qualified in respect of property situated in the rural district. 


On the 12th December a petition was lodged in the Court 
of Common Pleas, praying that the return might he declared 
void, on the ground of bribery and corruption on the part of 
Major Knox and his agents. The petition, after much litigation, 
was finally set down for hearing the venue being changed to 
Carrick-on-Shannon before Mr. Justice Keogh of the Common 
Pleas ; and on the 19th February, 1869, the inquiry commenced. 

After a searching investigation, which lasted five days, Judge 
Keogh unseated Major Knox, declaring the election to be void 
by reason of bribery by his agents, acquitting him, however, 
personally of knowledge, but directing that he should pay the 
costs of the petition. Major Knox subsequently stated that the 
election and petition cost him nearly 8000. l The Judge 
reported to the House of Commons that he had reason to 
believe that corrupt practices and bribery extensively prevailed 
at this and previous elections. The result of this report was 
the staying by the House of Commons of a new writ, and the 
ordering of a Special Commission to issue for the purpose of 
examining into the subject of corrupt practices existing at the 
three last elections, and appointing D. C. Heron, U.C., J. A. 
Byrne, and "W. E.. Bruce as Commissioners to make the 
inquiry, and report thereon. This Commission sat for the 
first time in the County Court-house, Sligo, on the 5th October, 
1869, and finally closed in December. Upon a report and 
return to the House of Commons of these Commissioners, 2 a bill 
was brought in to disfranchise the Borough of Sligo for the cor- 
rupt practices that were reported. The result was its disf ranchise- 
ment by 33 & 34 Yict. c. 38 ; and a number of celebrities of the 
day, Queen's counsel, barristers, justices of the peace, gentle- 
men, merchants, and persons holding official appointments were, 
on their names being scheduled in the reports of the Judge 

1 Major Knox died 24th January, 1873, aged 36 years. 

2 " Report of the Commissioners appointed under the Act of 15 & 16 
Victoria, cap. 57, for the purpose of making inquiry into the existence of 
corrupt practices at the last election for Sligo, together with the Minutes of 
Evidence. Presented to loth Houses of Parliament by command of Her 
Majesty, 1870. 


and the Commissioners, subjected to the penalties, disqualifica- 
tions, and deprivations enumerated in the Corrupt Practices 
Prevention Act. It is remarkable that the prevalence of cor- 
rupt practices in Sligo proved to have been greatest when the 
candidates were of the legal profession ; but at the election of 
1868, in addition to corrupt practices, undue clerical influence 
likewise was employed. There can be little or no doubt that 
the words used by the clergy after Mass were understood by 
the people as a strong declaration of ecclesiastical censure 
against those who should vote against the Roman Catholic 
candidate, a censure which indeed it was so admitted 
implied a withholding from the offenders of the rites of their 
Church till suitable reparation should be made. 1 

As will be seen from the list of Members of Parliament (see 
Appendix D) the so-called independent representation of the 
Borough of Sligo, during the thirty- six years of its existence, 
was signalized by the filing of five successful petitions against 
the sitting member, and in each case malpractices were proved ; 
in short, liberty had degenerated into licence ; votes were almost 
openly sold. 

1 Report of the Commissioners, #c., pp. vii. and viii. &c. 



CAREFUL reader of the early Irish annals can- 
not fail to observe therein the mention made of 
visitations of pestilence and famine. Although 
accounts may be disregarded of the annihilation 
by pestilence of the early colonies planted in Erin, 
still evidence remains of ever-recurring scourges of 
later date; for instance, in 1224, 1228 to 1230, 
in 1315, in 1318. In 1327 small-pox raged; and in the fol- 
lowing year an epidemic broke out which was called Slaodan. 
This, it is stated, signifies a cough or cold ; hence the disease 
may be supposed to have been what is now termed influenza. 
In 1349 a great plague devastated the district of Moylurg on 
the boundaries of Roscommon and Sligo. In 1361 and 1362 
Sligo was visited by a terrible pestilence which, amongst other 
persons of note, carried off the celebrated Cathal Oge O'Conor, 
who died in the castle of Sligo. In 1383 and 1384 " an awful 
and very fatal plague raged," as also in 1398 and 1424. In 
1438 "the abbot of Kilnamanagh and Nicholas O'Meeny, 
vicar of Castleconnor, died of the plague," which appears to 
have been equally virulent the following year, as " The Four 
Masters" narrate that "Donogh, the son of O'Dowd, i.e. Teige; 
Conor, son of Donal, the son of Cormac MacDonogh ; his wife, 
the daughter of Teige MacDonogh ; the vicar of Imleach-Iseal ; 
Donogh, the son of Tomaltach O'Bolan all died of the 
plague." In 1447 " a great plague raged in the summer and 
harvest," and in 1464 there was another outbreak. In 1478 
" a great plague was imported by a ship which entered the 
port of Bally shannon." In 1488 the plague raged in Ros- 


common and spread into Sligo. In 1489 the plague " was so 
virulent that many persons were left unburied." In 1492 was 
prevalent the " sweating sickness" the Ephemera Sudatoria of 
some writers, but more commonly known as the Sudor Anglicus, 
or English sweat. The disease was supposed to have been 
produced by the use of unsound wheat the result of bad 
seasons and accounts are given of violent tempests and tor- 
rents of rain which deluged the land. Dreadful epidemics 
prevailed in the years 1523 and 1525, whilst in 1528 there was 
a recurrence of the " Sweating Sickness." In 1536 " many 
diseases and distempers raged," and also again in 1572. 

In the early ages leprosy was by no means a rare disease in 
Ireland ; it is stated that on more than one occasion it broke 
out as a regular epidemic, and leper hospitals were established 
in various localities. "There is a place in the parish of 
Cloonoghill in Sligo " remarks P. W. Joyce, " called Flower- 
hill, which is a strange transformation of the proper Irish name 
Cnoc a' lobhair, hill of the leper. This change, which was 
made by translating cnoc to hill, and by turning lobhair (lour) 
to flower, totally hides the meaning. It is to be observed that 
the fact of lobhair being singular in a name does not exclude 
the supposition of a leper hospital." 

It was in the year 1433 that occurred the season designated 
" the summer of the slight acquaintance," for no one would 
recognize either friend or acquaintance on account of the sore- 
ness of the famine. There was scarcity of food in 1497, so 
that great numbers died, and the survivors had but the vilest 
of garbage on which to support life ; whilst in 1545 " sixpence 
of the old money was paid for the loaf in Connaught ;" and in 
] 582 there was another season of dearth. 

The frequent recurrence of these latter calamities seems to 
have been to some extent diminished by the introduction into 
the country of the potato, which took place about 1586 to 1588. 
The potato stayed for a time the almost periodical famines; 
but even prior to the commencement of the eighteenth century 
notices are to be met with of partial blights and disease of that 
tuber. The first recorded failure of the potato in Sligo occurred 


in the year 1739 ; the crop in 1746 was again bad, for it is 
stated that between the 10th and 14th June two ships arrived 
in the port with barley and oatmeal, which lowered the price of 
those commodities ; provisions then became very plenty, and 
salmon sold for a penny a pound. 

In 1750, 1765, 1770, 1779, and 1784, the population 
suffered severely by placing their dependence on the potato 
crop ; the most intense pressure being felt in 1765, when the 
scarcity was so great that a Committee of the 
House of Commons was appointed to inquire 
into the best way of averting a famine. A 
medalet, struck in brass and stamped SLIGO 
SOUP TICKET of which fig. 10 is a repre- 
sentation is reputed to have been made 

Fig. 10. 

towards the close of the century, when soup- obverse ot SLIGO 
shops were opened under Government to relieve ** blank, 

the then prevalent distress of the poor. Other 

" Tickets " differing slightly in lettering have also come under 


Again in 1802, 1812, 1816, 1817, and 1821, the tuber was 
either deficient or almost wholly destroyed. In 1822 there was 
a severe famine, and 40,000 persons were said to have been 
then in actual want. There were also several partial failures 
of the crop between the years 1823 and 1846. 

Thus it will be seen that the famine of 1846-8 was no novel 
scourge ; but it fell on the country at a period when its popu- 
lation had increased to such a degree that it could only be 
supported by the potato, and when it failed starvation became 

Famine and pestilence may be said to be almost synony- 
mous expressions. Thus we learn that in 1816 and 1817 
small-pox made fearful inroads amongst the population, whilst 
numbers died of a malignant fever; and on the 24th May 
1822, it was stated, in a letter from Sligo, that " fever stalks 
upon the heels of famine ; we cannot accommodate the sick. 
The type of the fever is at present more malignant, and its 
duration longer than in 1817." The malady often ran its 


course from twenty-seven to thirty days, leaving the survivor 
in impaired health for weeks. 

The fields were untilled, and in the preceding year there 
had been a total failure of the flax crop, thereby adding to the 
calamities of the poor. In the months of June and July, the 
peasantry along the coast supported life chiefly on sea- weed 
and shell-fish, picked up by them on the shore. This severe 
distress was caused by the total failure of the potato crop, 
owing to heavy rains which lasted for many months, begin- 
ning at the close of the previous year. There was also a great 
mortality among cattle, probably arising from the same cause. 

An eye-witness thus describes Sligo, in the month of May, 
1822 : "It would be impossible for you to conceive or me to 
describe the state of the poor among us : the most appalling 
description would fall far short of the reality. To know all, 
you should put your head into a cabin, containing perhaps ten 
or fifteen squalid inhabitants who had fasted forty-eight hours ; 
hear the cries of the children, behold the tears of the mother, 
and the worn, heavy countenance of the father, who has neither 
work to do, nor strength to do it. With all that can be done, 
numbers must die of hunger, and disease resulting from it. 
The prospects of another year are gloomy in consequence of 
the ground remaining unplanted for want of seed potatoes. 
We are anxiously expecting an importation of them from the 
bounty offered by Government." 

A meeting was held in the City of London for the purpose 
of raising subscriptions for the relief of distress in Ireland. It 
would appear that the distressed districts were equal in extent 
to one-half of the superficial contents of the Kingdom ; Sligo 
was in the scheduled area, and was credited with a population of 
127,000. The difference between this famine and the subsequent 
visitation of 1845 to 1848 was, that although the potato crop 
failed, the grain was generally good. The food distress in the 
County became very apparent in the commencement of May ; 
in the middle of the month a bounty of 10s. per ton was paid 
on the importation of seed potatoes into the port ; and at the 
close of the month a meeting of the County gentry was convened 


by the High Sheriff at the request of 0. Wynne, Abraham 
Martin, Alex. Perceval, Wm. Parke, Wm. Duke, and Win. 
Faussett in order to take steps to alleviate the sufferings of 
the poor. The meeting, amongst other measures, appointed 
parochial committees to manage the affairs of each parish, to 
inquire into the state of the poor, and to apply for subscriptions 
and contributions; it was also arranged that the parochial 
committees should report once a fortnight to the general 
committee, and the latter applied to Government for a grant to 
give employment to the poor by the making and repairing of 
the public roads. 

Those parts of the town in which the poor principally 
resided were divided into four districts, " and gentlemen were 
deputed to visit them purposely to ascertain the extent of 
distress actually existing, with power to give relief on the spot, 
to a certain amount, in cases of such urgent distress as would 
not admit of a few days' delay. 3 ' 

The following are the names of the Committee for Relief of 
the Distressed Poor in the Town and the Union of St. John's : 

"0. Wynne, M. P.; Wm. .Faussett, Provost of Sligo ; Abraham 
Martin ; I. Everard ; Wm. C. Armstrong, Protestant clergyman of Sligo; 
John O'Connor, Roman Catholic clergyman ; James Cochran ; Wm. Hume ; 
Alexander M'Creery ; James Dunleavy, Roman Catholic clergyman ; 
Thomas Mostyn ; Wm. Vernon ; David Culbertson ; Alex. Cochran ; 
Francis O'Beirne : John Scott ; Martin Madden, Treasurer ; Wm. 
Urwick, Secretary." 

District committees were authorized, on certain conditions, 
to grant small loans to tradesmen and mechanics incapable of 
pursuing their occupations through want of money; similar 
assistance also to be given to females who had not the means of 
buying flax or wool for spinning ; gratuitous relief of food or seed 
potatoes to be afforded only in cases where no possible means 
of purchasing lay within reach, or where the recipients were 
absolutely incapable of work through age or sickness. 

Fresh potato seed having been imported, planting was con- 
tinued even up to the end of June, owing to the exertions of the 
" Committee for the Relief of the Poor, who distributed potatoes 

Y 2 


to the most necessitous, for that purpose, as well as for immediate 
consumption." Owing to the abundant supply, the price of 
oatmeal fell from 5s. a peck to 15s. per 1201bs. ; but a great 
evil continued to exist, namely, want of employment for 
the poor, who could not purchase provisions, even if to be 
had at one-half of the current prices. From that cause, and 
others arising from the peculiar exigencies of the times, the 
number of distressed poor had been increased to an unpa- 
ralleled degree, several hundreds being wholly dependent upon 
the limited measure of daily support which the circumscribed 
finances of the local committees enabled them to dispense. 

The Sligo Journal of June 5th states that the starving 
population of Drumcliif parish should feel deeply indebted 
to the exertions of their Yicar, the Eev. John Yeates, who 
diligently occupied himself in distributing oaten-meal, granted 
for relief of the poor, and he was aided in that merciful work 
by a resident gentleman, who himself gave several tons of 
meal, and further offered to lend money to poor tradespeople 
in the parish who could procure security for its repayment by 
easy instalments. The employment of the poor, in any shape, 
was strongly recommended, as it would be found impracticable 
to feed them for the ensuing three months unless some propor- 
tion of the funds could return by the introduction of industry ; 
the spinning of flax and of wool was, in many places, adopted 
with much success. 

Up to the first week in June 1400 had been received from 
London, but this only permitted the local committee to distri- 
bute relief at the rate of "three-pence a head to purchase 
provisions and firing for seven days." However, a communi- 
cation was received from the " Committee for Irish Distress " in 
London, stating that, on the production of any respectable 
banker's certificate for the actual receipt of subscriptions from the 
Town of Sligo, the committee in London would remit a sum 
equal to half that amount in aid of the local fund. 

E. S. Cooper, M.P., with his usual liberality, desired his 
name to be inserted for 100 in the list of subscriptions, and 
gentlemen were appointed to obtain contributions in the town ; 


the permanent staff of the Sligo Militia gave one day's pay 
towards the relief of the poor. 

According to the testimony of the medical profession, cases 
of fever were daily increasing in number and malignancy as 
evidenced by the numbers in the fever hospital but the 
prospect was indeed gloomy if contagion began its ravages 
among the poor at a period when, from inability to pay for 
separate dwellings, four or five families were crowded together 
in hovels, compared with which many a stable might be viewed 
as a mansion. 

The perseverance of the local committee 0. Wynne, 
M.P. ; Abraham Martin, James Soden, Colonel Parke, Eev. 
C. West, Eev. J. Yeates, Eev. W. C. Armstrong, and 
William Faussett amidst their unceasing and painful toil, 
was much to be admired ; as was also that strong principle 
of subjection to law and regard to the rights of others, 
which, under such pressing want, preserved the lower classes of 
the County from acts of violence for want almost invariably 
begets disturbance. In the commencement of the distress cau- 
tion was needful, and a meeting of the magistrates of the County 
was convened by the High Sheriff " to take into consideration 
the outrages of an insurrectionary character which had lately 
been committed in a part of the County, and to deliberate on 
the most speedy and effectual means of suppressing the same." 
The steps taken by the magistrates appear to have had the 
desired effect, as the County remained in a peaceful condition 
whilst other less happy portions of the kingdom were a prey 
to lawlessness and anarchy. 

Early in the month of June a large amount in private dona- 
tions had been received from local sources by the committee, 
and the Government, through the medium of the Linen Board, 
gave a grant of flaxseed to the amount of 200 for the benefit 
of distressed tenants in the County. At the same period 
also 400 tons of potatoes arrived in the port as a free gift. 

One of the district visitors stated that amongst a great 
number of cottages at which he called about breakfast hour, 
there were not more than six in which he could observe any 


preparation for that meal there not being even a fire on the 

Upwards of 1000 was collected from local sources, and up 
to the 29th June the numher of persons relieved in the town 
amounted to 5911 ; 477 labourers were employed on a new 
line of road " from Buckley's Ford 1 to Bayview;" 295 females 
were employed spinning flax, whilst 237 distressed tradesmen 
pursued their respective occupations by means of loans of 
small sums of money on security, thus reducing considerably 
the number of claimants for gratuitous assistance. The idea 
of opening a line to be called "The Circular Koad," 2 which 
could serve no use save the mere temporary employment of 
the poor, was greatly ridiculed at the time, and it was with 
much truth alleged that the money might have been laid out to 
much more advantage in various other ways. The following 
lines that appeared in the Sligo Journal of the period are an 
example of the criticism of the day: 

" 'The Poor Committee ' in their zeal 

To save each starving wretch, 
Have plann'd a road, just near the Jail, 

That he might see Jack Ketch. 
In this a moral may be found, 

That Poverty 's a sin, 
That hunger oft takes dangerous ground 

A scanty meal to win." 

This new road soon ceased to exist, the Grand Jury having 
thrown out the presentment for its maintenance. 

Under the "Act for Employment of the Poor in certain 
Districts of Ireland," Alexander Nimmo, a well-known engineer, 
was appointed to the " Northern District," which included 
the Counties of Sligo, Mayo, and G-alway. Not only were 
numerous new lines of communication opened up, but the ad- 

1 Buckley's Ford is said to have derived its name from an officer who, in 
1691, was killed at this pass by a cannon ball fired from the Green Fort of 
Sligo, which was then in possession of Sir Teigue O'ltegan. 

2 It was also designated "The English Road," as it was made with 
British money. 


ncement of the fishing industry on the littoral was taken into 
nsideration. In July the following notice appeared : 

" The gentlemen who are interested in the erection of a SAFETY 
IER at MULLAGHMORE are requested to signify by letter to Mr. James 
alker, Sligo, what sum each person is disposed to subscribe towards 
that work, which it is intended to proceed on forthwith. The 
Commissioners of Fishery only contribute one-half of the expense, which 
has been estimated at 1200 by Mr. Nimmo, Engineer to the 

It would appear as if the Mansion House Committee for 
relief of the distress in Ireland gave a grant to aid in the 
erection of the pier at Raughly. 

On the 27th July it was stated that the local committee had 
11,000 persons depending on them for subsistence, and including 
wages and every other allowance the ratio of relief which they 
could afford for each person per diem was very low indeed, and 
the practice of digging the potato-fields before they could yield 
their produce was unfortunately becoming very general ; indeed 
it was with the greatest difficulty that the peasantry were 
prevented from eating the crop when but half grown, and there- 
fore the committee issued a notice stating that any person on 
the lists for relief who dug potatoes before the 20th August 
would be at once removed from the relief list, for the practice if 
persisted in would tend to deprive the poor of means of future 

The report of the committee for relief of the distressed poor 
in the town of Sligo, Union of St. John's, dated 28th June, is 
given as a specimen of these returns (Appendix E) . As may be 
noticed, the recipients of relief were divided into two classes, 
those who received gratuitous aid and those who earned it ; no 
portion of the wages given for work was paid in money, but each 
labourer received a quantity of oatmeal proportioned to the 
number of his family and the work performed by him. 

The total amount of weekly expenditure for the four Districts 
was 262 15s. 4d., which for seven weeks amounted to 
1839 7s. 4d.j the sum that would be required, at the very 
lowest calculation, to preserve the poor from starvation till 


the 20th of August. From the want of seed potatoes, planting 
was unavoidably delayed, and consequently relief from the 
growing crop would be much later than usual, not even so soon 
as the 20th of August, the period calculated upon. 

The amount of wages, for overseers' carts employed in 
conveying materials to the road, for boys engaged in breaking 
stones, and for masons in repairing walls, was not included in 
the above. 

In the Life of William Urwick, D.D., it is stated that he had 
been appointed honorary secretary to the relief committee for 
distribution of English contributions in the town and county ; 
50,000 is said to have been disbursed in Sligo on works of 
supposed public utility. "When the managers of the London 
Fund closed the accounts, they had a balance of 40,000 in hand, 
and this sum was divided amongst the ten Western Counties of 
Ireland ; each local committee was allocated its share, to give 
money out on loan to assist the linen, woollen, and fishery in- 

A scarcity of provisions in Sligo became very apparent at 
the commencement of the year 1830, and the peasantry were com- 
pelled to travel from remote quarters of the country, ten, fifteen, 
or twenty miles, in order to purchase a stone of meal in the town ; 
there was, in short, a recurrence of a period of scarcity almost as 
great as in the year 1822. The price of potatoes rose to nearly 
3s. a peck of 4 stone ; oatmeal stood at 20s. per cwt. ; fuel of 
every description attained an unprecedented high price ; coals 
rose to 22s. a ton, and in May, 1831, potatoes had to be imported 
into Sligo. 

In the autumn of that year quarantine regulations were 
enforced in the port against ships from foreign parts, and 
alarmed by the accounts of the slow but sure advance of the 
Asiatic cholera, the vestry of St. John's, on the 22nd November, 
voted the sum of 200 to be expended for sanitary purposes, 
and officers of health were appointed. Sligo was indeed ripe 
for an attack of the epidemic. There were but a few short sewers 
in the town, and they all discharged into the river, the water of 
which was used by the inhabitants for drinking and culinary 


purposes. So early as 1826 the Doctors had pronounced the 
water in the pump in Tubbergal-lane to be unfit for use, whilst 
in 1828 other wells had been closed as being unsanitary ; in 
March, 1832, stagnant water had collected in several places, 
which had to be drained off by the Commissioners. 

It appeared at first as if Sligo would be exempted from the 
dread visitation of the cholera ; Galway, Tuam, Ballinrobe, 
Castlebar, and Mullingar had been stricken, but there was 
seemingly a pause in the advance of the fell disease ; yet finally 
Sligo suffered more severely than any other town in Ireland, 
and was specially remarkable for the number of medical men 
that were carried off by that malady. 

The first case of cholera was seen on the 29th July, 1832, 
but the people " threatened vengeance against the medical men 
who reported the fact." On the llth of August, however, there 
could no longer be any doubt of its presence amongst them ; its 
appearance had been preceded by thunder and lightning, accom- 
panied with a hot, close atmosphere. A " Board of Superinten- 
dence" consisting of thirteen members was formed to look after 
affairs in the Borough during the epidemic, but they could effect 
little to stay the ravages of the pestilence, except by trying to 
enforce cleanliness, proper ventilation, and the precautions which 
were then thought of use to ward off the attack. 

The present Fever Hospital, being situated on an eminence 
at a short distance from the town, and detached from other 
buildings, was considered the most suitable place to be devoted 
to the reception of cholera patients, and the rapidity with 
which the unhappy victims were carried off rendered it essential 
that a large supply of coffins should always be in readiness. 
These were placed in great numbers on the field behind the 
hospital, and the fresh wood of which they were composed stood 
out in strong relief on the deep green sod of the hill, from which 
the ground sloped away on every side, thus rendering the ghastly 
pile of coffins plainly observable at a distance of two or three 
miles. It was no uncommon thing in those direful days to see 
persons who had fallen victims to the terrible malady lying dead 
in the streets; these corpses were wrapped in sheets smeared 


with pitch, to prevent the spread of the disease, and were re- 
moved by the cholera-carts employed by the Board of Super- 
intendence ; some of the bodies were coffined and some were 
not, for in the beginning the supply of coffins was far short of 
the demand. 1 

The first appearance of cholera in Sligo found the medical 
men quite ignorant of the real nature of the disease, and therefore 
their treatment of it varied according to the judgment formed 
by each. In those days, the use of the lancet was looked on as 
a sovereign remedy in almost every malady, and bleeding was 
approved of by some practitioners : such was the treatment 
resorted to, by his own desire, in the case of Dr. Coyne, on his 
showing symptoms of this dreaded scourge. He sank rapidly, 
despite the frequent after-administration of stimulants. " Ah ! " 
said he, just before the end, "this is not the right treatment ; it 
is like knocking a man down with a blow of the fist, and then 
extending your little finger to help him up again." 

With respect to the influence of locality on the disease in the 
town, it is noteworthy that in some of the best streets, such as 
Stephen-street, Knox's- street, Ratcliffe-street, the epidemic 
appeared in its most virulent form in almost every house on 
the side immediately adjoining the river, whilst on the opposite 
side the cases were less severe and comparatively few in number. 
In Stephen- street, on the side next the river, four generations lay 
dead at the same time in one house, and of its inmates there 
remained only one survivor. 

The general silence which prevailed in the town was specially 
noticeable, the footsteps of those running to seek medical aid, or 
the hurried footfall of the medical men, were the principal sounds 
heard, the only other movement being the carrying of the dead 
to their last resting-place, or the rumble of the hearse conveying 

1 A gentleman who spent the greater portion of his life in India stated 
that in one virulent outbreak of cholera, he observed natives who whilst in the 
act of working in the fields apparently in good health, were suddenly struck 
down ; complained of giddiness, deafness, loss of sight, and expired in a few 
minutes ; soldiers attacked on the march have been known to die in the 
course of a couple of hours. 


the remains of those of somewhat better social position ; whilst 
the air was impregnated with the odour emitted by tar-barrels 
burning at the corners of the streets. A person who well remem- 
bers these terrible scenes states that not a voice was to be heard 
in the streets ; the birds appeared to have ceased to sing, and the 
sparrows to chirp : indeed the absence of the feathered tribe was 
most remarkable. 1 The streets were deserted, and before the 
termination of the epidemic they were almost as green as 
the fields. 

Up to the close of September cholera lingered on in the 
town, but so early as the beginning of the month seven skilful 
medical practitioners and physicians had succumbed, and at the 
close of the visitation eleven medical men in all were stated to 
have fallen victims to it. So great were the ravages that a 
native of the place who was quartered in India at the time, saw 
there a newspaper paragraph with the heading "Sligo is no 

A prominent member of the profession at this period was 
Dr. Irwin; he had been with the army during the Peninsular 
war, and the Waterloo campaign : he was promoted to the rank 
of Deputy Inspector-General of Hospitals, and in 1817 was 
placed on half-pay, and appointed surgeon to the Military at 
Sligo. He was indefatigable in superintendence of the cholera 
hospital, and witnessed the death of many of his old professional 
friends who had been associated with him in that duty; amongst 
them may be mentioned Doctors Coyne and Bell. It is 
related that the former, a few days before his death, happened 
to pass a friend's house on his way to one of his numerous 
patients, when he observed the cholera- cart waiting before the 
door, 2 and on inquiry he was told that his friend was dead. He 
was astonished at this announcement, having seen him in full 

1 The disappearance of birds has also heen noticed in the East on the 
outbreak of this epidemic. 

2 It was no uncommon occurrence for the cholera-cart to be kept waiting 
at the door of a house in which a person was attacked by the cholera until 
the patient was dead, for in the early part of the epidemic people succumbed 
to the disease in a short time. 


vigour but a few hours previously. He entered the house, and 
found people preparing to place the supposed corpse in a coffin. 
Coyne examined the body, discovered some faint sign of life ; 
the man was consequently replaced in bed, restoratives applied, 
and finally he survived for many years after his rescuer had 
himself succumbed to the epidemic. 

Many stories are recounted of persons being carried off to be 
buried whilst still alive, but this may in many instances be 
accounted for by the fact that the algide surface of the body, 
a short time after death becomes again heated, and there is 
muscular movement; this curious phenomenon was observed 
in many other localities afflicted by the cholera. In reply to an 
inquiry on this point from a physician of eminence, he stated: 
"It is true that in cases of cholera the surface is icy cold, but 
when death relaxes the condition of the skin, the hot blood from 
the interior of the body does impart much heat for some time 
after death; movements of the muscular fibres of the chest and 
arms can all be excited in certain cases: of course so long as 
any trace of action continues, that part is not really dead, but it 
is certain the patient is." 

At the outbreak of the cholera in Sligo, all who could do 
so removed from the town, the population being reduced, it 
is alleged, to under four thousand ; but a vast number of the 
poorer classes, who fled into the neighbouring country, were 
looked on by the peasantry as disseminators of the scourge then 
afflicting the town, and they refused to house these refugees, 
or even supply them with the ordinary necessaries of life. 
Accordingly they sought protection in ditches, or any sheltered 
nook they could find, and as nothing could induce them to 
return to the town, food was given for their use by the committee 
appointed for that purpose : however, as might be expected, from 
the hardships to which they were exposed, whiskey came to be 
regarded as the great panacea, and this despite their poverty, 
they managed in some way to procure, so that drunkenness 
became very prevalent, and it was said that those who gave 
way to that vice fell ready victims to the cholera on their first 
return to sobriety. 


The newspapers of the time state that the country people 
of the neighbourhood, in various directions, were acting in a 
most outrageous manner on the high roads; they cut the ropes 
of carriers, stopped provisions on the way to the town, insulted 
and interrupted those who rode, walked, or drove out for exercise 
or on business; thus severe want was being felt in the town, 
and the miserable remnant of the population were threatened by 
their neighbours with a blockade and famine, following on the 
fearful visitation of God. Some gentlemen on horseback were 
insulted near Ballincar, where a wall had been built across the 
road to prevent the passage of people from the town; in other 
directions, trenches were cut across the highways; a carrier 
from Enniskillen was forced to turn back, but it is needless 
to enumerate the many similar cases that occurred ; the daily 
coach between Dublin and Sligo, however, seems to have been 
allowed to proceed unimpeded, and handbills were therefrom 
distributed along the route giving details of the ravages of the 
epidemic. 1 

The period of the cholera visitation was one which brought 
into prominence the distinctive traits in the character of public 
officials. Some few fled; but the majority behaved in an 
exemplary manner, so much so, that when it was proposed 

1 CHOLERA. Daily Numerical Report of Cases for the TOWN and 



last Report. 

New Cases. 




this Day 
at // o'Clock. 






The foregoing includes the HOSPITAL REPORT, viz. 


DISEASE, ON nth AUGUST, 1832. 






. Mien, Assist. Secretary. 


to present a testimonial to one gentleman, who had been in- 
defatigable in his exertions, it was remarked that he had only 
done his duty, and that if given to him, it would have to be 
given to all. The Commissioners for improving the Town 
and Harbour of Sligo, in this respect however, showed a 
good example, for at a meeting held on 26th November the 
salary of two of their officers was considerably reduced, in 
consequence of their having deserted their duty "during 
the awful period when the town was visited with cholera." 
On the other hand, it was resolved that "John "Williams and 
Robert Boyd, town and harbour constables, do receive the 
sum of three pounds each in consequence of the manly and 
faithful manner in which they discharged their duty and con- 
ducted themselves during the period of cholera in the town." 
All regular business had been suspended ; for example, the 
secretary of the Commissioners wrote on the 28th November to 
express his regret at not sooner replying to a letter, as the Board 
had only just met "for the purpose of arranging business that 
should have been done in August." 

As the pestilence abated, people began to breathe more freely, 
and to inquire into the details of calamity throughout the town. 
It was long, however, before affairs resumed their wonted course, 
so many individuals had been removed, who were formerly found 
at the head of every movement in their respective walks of life. 
Business was partially resumed, and the streets began to wear 
once more an appearance of life; but a person who visited Sligo 
at a late period of the year (1832) stated that with respect to 
the air and atmosphere of the town, he was convinced, from 
personal sensation, that it was pestiferous and deadly, for when 
passing to the Courthouse from M'Bride's now the Imperial 
Hotel, a singularly disagreeable odour was perceptible, such 
as might be noticed in dirty anatomical dissecting rooms, or in 
confined places crowded with blacks in a state of perspiration ; 
it was no fancy, for whenever the above-mentioned locality was 
reached he became peculiarly sensible of it. Very many corpses 
had been buried in the Abbey-grounds, where there was scarcely 
clay enough to cover the coffins, whilst in the Churchyard of 


St. John's, about eighty bodies were deposited without the 
trouble having been taken of digging deep ; whereas a cholera 
corpse should be covered with quite six feet of earth. Great 
numbers of all denominations were buried in the ground behind 
the Fever Hospital, but of course the bodies and coffins had, 
under medical supervision, as a general rule, been carefully and 
properly put down at a sufficient depth. This place is still 
known as "The Cholera Field"; it was unenclosed until the 
year 1848, when it was surrounded by a well-built wall, and 
across the enclosure runs the mound which marks the site of the 
"Cholera Trench." 

A return is given of the cases admitted to, and the numbers 
who actually died within, the hospital. The gross totals are 
specified, but unfortunately the first and some intermediate 
portions of the tabular statement are missing. It is impossible* 
to ascertain the actual number of deaths that occurred within 
the precincts of the Borough, for there appears to have been no 
regular system of registration observed beyond the bounds of 
the hospital and the registry of St. John's; no doubt, however, 
the number furnished in the returns here given would be 
considerably increased if the burials which took place in the 
Abbey were added to them, for many contemporaneous observers 
were of opinion that more were interred there than at the 
hospital. The numbers who actually died of the epidemic have 
been variously estimated. It is thought the statement that 
"out of a population of about 15,000 the cholera carried off 
1500," is not far from the true facts of the case; but it is to be 
noted that out of the above nominal population, not more than 
four or at most five thousand remained. 

To ensure uniformity, the return of deaths in the hospital 
was always made out at the same hour, namely, 11 o'clock, 
a.m. In the first fortnight after the outbreak of cholera, 449 
people died in the hospital being at the rate of about 225 
per week; but it is probable that the majority of these fatal 
cases occurred in the first seven days, for cholera appears to be 
subject to the same laws that regulate the outbreak, course, 
and termination of other epidemics, i.e. it is more fatal at its 



commencement, and becomes less virulent after its first energy 
has been expended. 

In the third week 124 died, the fourth week 52, the fifth 
week 11, the sixth week 4, after which there appears to have 
been no other fatal cases in the hospital; the total number 
admitted being 1229 and the deaths 640, a fraction more than 
half of those attacked succumbed to the disease. 


ing last 




ing this 

Aug. 25, Saturday, 
,, 26, Sunday, 







27, Monday, 






28, Tuesday, 






29, Wednesday 






30, Thursday, 






31, Friday, 





31 l 

Sept. 1, Saturday, 






2, Sunday, 






3, Monday, 






4, Tuesday, 






5, Wednesday, 






6, Thursday, 






7, Friday, 





8 2 

Sept. 14, Friday, 





5 3 

Sept. 21, Friday, 




Sept. 28, Friday, 




The following record of burials in the churchyard of St. 
John's from llth August to the 7th September, 1832, is ex- 
tracted from the Parish books; only four other deaths were 
registered during the year, making a gross total of 83. The bill 

1 Total cases since the commencement of the disease on the llth August, 1832, 
1117; total deaths, 673. 

2 Total cases since the commencement of the disease on the llth August, 1832, 
1190: total deaths, 625. 

a Total cases since the commencement of the disease on the llth August, 1832, 
1213; total deaths, 636. 

4 Total cases since the commencement of the disease on the llth August, 1832, 
1224; total deaths, 640. 

5 Total cases since the commencement of the disease on the llth August, 1832, 
1229 ; total deaths, 640. No NEW CASE. 


paid by the Vestry of St. Joha's for " Coffin Boards" to one 
contractor alone amounted to nearly 25. 


No. buried. 


No. buried. 

August 11, . . 
12, . . 


August 24, . 
25, . 


14, . . 


26, . 


15, . . 


27, . 


16, . . 


28, . 


17, . . 


29, . 


18, . . 


30, . 


19, . . 


Sept mber 1, . 


20, . . 


2, . 


21, . . 


3, . 


22, . . 




23, . . 


7, - 



. . . . 


The village of Ballysodare suffered very severely, and from 
the first outbreak of the cholera in that locality to its final 
disappearance, it is estimated that nearly one hundred deaths 
took place in the village and its immediate vicinity : the scenes 
in Sligo were here reproduced in a minor degree; the country 
people drew a cordon round the devoted hamlet and prevented 
all egress, but the neighbouring village of Collooney escaped 
both in the year 1832, and also upon the reappearance of the 
malady in 1849. In 1834 there was a slight return of cholera, 
which, however, appears to have attacked only the country vil- 
lages ; and in Easky five deaths having occurred in one day the 
inhabitants deserted it in the commencement of October. 

"Nowhere in Ireland," writes Inglis, "did cholera rage with 
such deadly violence as in Sligo ; and I found, in the year 1834, 
in the town when I visited it, the greatest dread of its reappear- 
ance, a few cases having appeared at Ballina and in some of 
the neighbouring villages." 

After the disappearance of cholera, a virulent kind of fever 
prevailed in Sligo, and was almost as fatal as the former; in 
February, 1837, there was an outbreak of influenza, and in April, 
1842, fever was prevalent throughout the county. 


There was a partial failure of the potato crop in 1845, and 
in the autumn and winter there was great dearth of employment ; 
a committee appointed by the Town and Harbour Commissioners 
to inquire into matters in the borough, reported that 2400 per- 
sons were unemployed. In 1846 food riots occurred ; and in 
the spring of that year, committees for relief of the poor were 
established, and works of public utility were undertaken, for 
the purpose of giving employment to the destitute. There were 
violent thunderstorms in the summer, and towards the end of 
July there could be little doubt but that a second failure of the 
potato-crop must occur ; and at a somewhat later period, when 
the scanty produce of the harvest was secured, the prospect of 
starvation, like a spectre, struck dread into the hearts of all. 
The rural population were in a worse plight than the towns- 
people by the sudden destruction of their accustomed food, of 
which as much could formerly be had for 4d. or 6d. a peck 
of four stone as 2s. d. could then purchase of oatmeal or 

In December the committee recommended that extraordinary 
steps should be taken to alleviate the widely-prevalent distress, 
as the mercantile supply of food in Sligo was totally inadequate 
to meet the demand, " deaths from starvation having already 
occurred in the neighbourhood," and many were said to be fast 
wasting to mere skeletons. 

Soup-kitchens were opened in various localities, and these 
were principally supported by private subscriptions; in Upper 
Leyny alone, nine soup-kitchens were kept up at a weekly 
expenditure of 75. "In the district of Achonry, containing 
20,000 souls, one half were receiving rations in the month of 
June ; and forty corpses, the wretched remains of persons who 
had succumbed to starvation, were awaiting the coroner (at one 
time) in the district of Magherowe." 

The then rector of Ballymote is credited with having secured 
the earliest assistance for his parishioners during the first year 
of this famine. He had written to the committee in Dublin, 
praying for instant relief, and in reply received a letter which 
commenced "we are thinking," &c.; his laconic retort had the 


effect of speedily procuring the needful supplies; it was simply 
"while you are thinking, we are starving." 

The manner in which the overplus of the food supplies, 
accumulated to meet the demands occasioned by the famine of 
1846-8, was disposed of in Sligo, appears to have rankled in 
the minds of the merchants even so late as the year 1861, as 
evidenced in the address presented to Sir Robert Peel in that 
year, wherein it is stated that " the commissariat which refused 
to sell or part with any of its food-stores when called upon by 
the public bodies here, while provisions were scarce, and prices 
high when the famine had done its work, and ample supplies 
had been imported, then entered into competition with the mer- 
chants, glutted the markets, reduced prices of food to one-third 
of the cost, and ruined the enterprising importers." 

Observers of later date may, however, arrive at the conclusion 
that the Grovernmeut officials acted for the best, that it was in 
fact to prevent a sudden rise in price after Governmental aid 
had been withdrawn, that they threw their stores on the public 
markets, and although it may have had injurious effect on 
merchants speculating for a rise, yet the exceptional circumstances 
of the case seem to justify their action. 

The total of presentments made in the county for the relief 
works of 1846-8 was 217,802, and it was estimated that 306 
miles of new roads were made ; many of these were, however, not 
kept up. 

During the year of famine, instructions to the peasantry 
were issued by Government, suggesting means by which (if 
carried out) it was hoped that the future progress of disease in 
the potato might possibly be arrested: the majority of the 
population, however, refused to adopt any precautionary measure, 
"but preferred to have 'holy water' sprinkled over the potato- 
pits, feeling quite convinced that if the blessed liquid failed 
nothing else could avail." 

A virulent fever, consequent on the sufferings of the people, 
broke out in March, 1847 ; and even before that date, between 
fifty and sixty interments had already taken place in the new 
burial-ground. At the close of the year 1848, when the terrors 



of the visitation were yet fresh, and the inhabitants of the town 
were thoroughly alarmed at the prospect of another epidemic of 
cholera, a "Sanitary Association" was appointed to inquire into 
matters and make a report thereon; that report was simply 
appalling, the sources of water-supply being all more or less 
polluted ; in one instance decomposed blood, percolating from a 
slaughter- yard into a well, was distinctly observable, and one 
pump received the drainage from the Abbey, another that from 
the churchyard. U A host of inquirers of the highest eminence 
and repute in this department of science have established the 
fact, beyond controversy, that one of the most frequent and 
fertile causes of some of our most dreaded and fatal diseases, 
cholera and typhoid or enteric fever, for example, as well as of 
innumerable minor and chronic derangements of health, princi- 
pally affecting the digestive system, is the contamination of 
our drinking and cooking water by the admixture of various 
organic impurities and poisons (animal and vegetable) derived 
from the sewage of towns, or slowly percolating through a 
porous soil into the adjacent wells, springs, rivers, and lakes." 

It was a peculiarity attending the second visitation of cholera 
in Sligo, that the town itself was, comparatively speaking, but 
slightly affected. The country districts, however, suffered severely. 
Dr. Thomas Little, the County Surgeon, was one of the 
first victims; he was attacked whilst in the hospital, was too 
ill to be removed to his own residence, and died in a neigh- 
bouring house. In recognition of his zeal, some of his admirers, 
im 1852, decided on erecting a memorial to him, which took the 
form of a marble bust, executed by Barter, a then well-known 
young sculptor, and when finished the bust was placed in the 
entrance hall of the County Infirmary. 

The first patient attacked by cholera in 1849 was brought to 
the hospital on the 29th May, and died the same day; but 
between the 18th and 22nd August, 166 patients were admitted 
to the hospital and hospital sheds : the former provided 50, and 
the latter 1 00 beds. Of the patients 98 died, but 68 recovered. 
The epidemic ceased as abruptly as it had commenced. 

Dr. Mapother, at one time Medical Officer of Health to the 


Dublin Corporation, and subsequently President of the Royal 
College of Surgeons, was of opinion that the mortality in the 
town of Sligo from the cholera in the year 1832 was as 1 in 12 ; 
for the year 1849 one in 27. Some consider that the mortality 
from the former epidemic is somewhat under, and from the 
latter, somewhat over-estimated by him. 

Fever raged both before and after the cholera, and up to the 
18th August, 1849, nearly 500 patients had been taken into the 
hospital ; whilst numbers who could not be received lay along 
the roadside under temporary shelter, in the immediate neigh- 
bourhood, awaiting their turn ; and the Infirmary porter who was 
in the habit of supplying these sufferers with water, caught the 
fever and died. 

Tubbercurry, Tubberscanavan, and other villages suffered 
severely from the malady ; whilst the reports from the towuland 
of Dunfore, on the Lissadell Estate, were simply appalling: one 
person stated in the public press that on the roadside he saw 
four coffins, in some of which the corpses had lain for two or three 
days, as nobody would bury them. 

In Sligo the Abbey burial-ground remained closed for about 
six months during which period the ornamental railings in 
front of it were erected when the Mayor was solicited as a 
special favour to grant leave for the interment of a well-known 
citizen ; this being done, the local magistrates acted subsequently 
on the opinion that all families having burial-places in the Abbey 
should have permission to inter there as soon as the epidemic 
had quite disappeared : a magistrate's order, however, had to be 
produced. The place once opened, applications from all sides 
poured in, and the result was a reversion to the old state of 

In the year 1854 there was a slight outbreak of cholera, whilst 
in 1866 two cases occurred, produced, it was alleged, by drinking 
water drawn from near where a sewer discharged into the river. 
In January and February, 1875, a virulent type of small- 
pox broke out in the village of Tubbercurry and its neighbour- 
hood. The disease was alleged to have been imported into the 
locality by some itinerant quacks from the County Mayo, who 


spread the infection by inoculation, and thus was revived a 
terrible epidemic which had been long and successfully kept 
under by means of the Compulsory Vaccination Act. One of 
the quacks was tried, found guilty and sentenced to five years 
penal servitude. On this subject The Medical Press and Circular 
of that date observed: "The state of the West of Ireland, as 
regards the prevalence of small-pox, is a pitiable illustration of 
the incompetency of the law to deal with an offence perpetrated 
in the face of day, and hardly even denied by the guilty parties. 
The inoculation mania in Connaught has, in the last three months 
cost 222 lives, and most of the registrars of that Province refer 
to its prevalence in their districts, and to the terrible misery 
caused by it." 

In May, 1877, there was a slight outbreak of typhoid fever 
in the town ; and in the autumn there was a failure of the potato 
crop, as also again in 1878, in which year during an epidemic of 
small-pox many cases of a malignant type were admitted to 
hospital. In the autumn of 1886 there was a severe outbreak 
of scarlatina in the Knocknarea district. 

In the autumn of 1879 the potato crop was again almost an 
entire failure owing to the inclemency of the season and con- 
tinuous rains. The flood was so great as to cause the river in 
the town to become heavily swollen between the Upper and 
Lower Weirs; over the former a seething mass of rolling waters 
poured, submerging many of the houses on each side, and at 
the Lower Weir the rush of such a volume of water presented a 
wonderful spectacle. All through the county incalculable 
mischief was wrought, valleys were transformed into lakes, the 
turf supply was seriously injured as well as the potatoes, and 
thus three successive bad seasons inflicted great suffering on all, 
but more especially on the small farmers. 

There were in the Sligo Union over 500 persons, including 
children, in receipt of outdoor relief, costing at the rate of 1300 
per annum. 

The Lissadell West and Magherowe districts were in a sad 
state of destitution, and large tracts in Tireragh were in the 
same condition. At this critical juncture the Duchess of 


[arlborough interested herself in forming a central committee 
to collect funds for distribution amongst the destitute in the 
West and South of Ireland, and a similar charitable work was 

)mmenced in London. In the spring of 1880 the distress in 
the County Sligo became severe and wide-spread; emigration, 
however, had to some extent lessened the evils of scarcity by 
diminishing the superabundant population, else sufferings as 
great as in 1822 or 1847 might have resulted. 

With Government money new varieties of seed potatoes 
were introduced by the local authorities, and distributed to the 
small farmers, who received them by way of loan the expense 
repayable by instalments. Money was also advanced by Govern- 
ment on easy terms, and Special Baronial Sessions were held, 
at which numerous presentments were passed, principally for 
the opening of new lines of road, useful in themselves as well 
as affording occupation to those in need of employment, and a 
few fishing-piers also were erected. 

Early in 1883 there was severe distress in the island of 
Innismurray, and the steamer " Redwing " was placed at the 
disposal of the Local Government Board. In consequence of 
very stormy weather, several abortive attempts were made before 
provisions could be landed, and the risk of starvation thus 
averted, for even under favourable circumstances this island 
can with difficulty support its inhabitants. 

Emigration set in again in full force one steamer alone car- 
ried off from the quay upwards of 100 persons bound for " the 
far West." To account for the present great diminution of the 
population a cause must be sought other than the ordinary death- 
rate or the thinning of the number of inhabitants by famine, 
fever, or pestilence. This cause is clearly to be traced to emigra- 
tion. The population in the County Sligo, according to the 
Census of 1659, was 6877 ; the barony of Carbury contained 1398 
souls ; Tireragh, a total of 1495 ; Tirerrill, 1389 ; Corran, 1107 ; 
Leyny, 1181 ; the half barony of Coolavin, 307. Even from the 
scant population of the 18th century there was a slight but 
steady exodus. In 1778, Arthur Young states, " there were 
some emigrations to America, but not considerable; some of 


them have come back again." From 1760 to 1792, the popula- 
tion had nearly doubled ; in 1820 there was a constant, steady 
stream of emigrants, increased by the privations of 1822, whilst, 
in 1830, the stream may be said to have become a torrent. 
On one day in the month of May, three vessels cleared out 
of the port with emigrants for America, and hundreds were 
wfiiting in Sligo for the sailing of other vessels which were 
fitting up. In June of the same year three sailing ships left 
\vith 500 emigrants; there was even a greater stir in 1831 
the year anterior to the cholera. It was stated that in April of 
that year, thirteen vessels were in port for the conveyance of 
passengers to British America and the States, and several others 
were daily expected. Many respectable families were preparing 
to leave the town, which was crowded with country people 
awaiting the sailing of vessels. Up to 31st August thirty 
vessels had left Sligo with a total of 4495 souls. 

From January to April, 1832, thirteen vessels left the port 
with 4086 emigrants, but- no further departures are recorded, 
emigration being checked by the outbreak of cholera. In 1834, 
however, the current set in again in full force, and in April there 
were no less than thirty vessels advertised to start from the 
port during the summer season. From 1st January to 1st May, 
1835, 750 persons had left; six vessels sailed from the quay 
during one week in the month of June, 1836; whilst, in 1838, 
the total number of emigrants that left was 1284, in eleven 
ships, of which the average tonnage was but about 200 tons ! 
The tide of emigration was directed to the British possessions in 
America, no vessel having cleared out for the United States. In 
1839 the exodus continued, and in 1840 Sir Robert Grore Booth 
fitted out a ship for a number of his tenants on the townland 
of Ballygilgan. In the year 1845, from January to July, 2142 
emigrants left the port. From " Sligo and the outposts " 
which probably comprised Balliua a Return of Emigration 
for the period, commencing in 1847 aud ending in 1850, is as 
follows: 1146 emigrants sailed for the United States in the 
year 1847, and 11,904 for British America ; in 1848 the numbers 
were 747 and 2331, respectively ; 1665 emigrants sailed for the 



United States, and 2313 for British America in the year 1849 ; 
whilst in 1850 the numbers were 1009 and 1395, respectively : 
thus making a total of 4567 emigrants to the States and 17,943 
to British America during the four years above named. 

These items will convey some faint idea of the vast exodus 
which was continuously going on. Unfortunately, no regular 
statistics appear to have been kept until the year 1851, from 
which date, however, the returns are accurate. From 1851-4 
there were about 7750 emigrants. 




. . 1161 


. . 881 


. . 1154 


. . 602 


. . 645 


. . 934 


. . 698 


. . 738 


. . 1516 


. . 1614 


. . 985 


. . 1706 


. . 1761 


. . 905 


. . 950 


. . 1113 


. . 1151 


. . 1344 




. . 2210 


. . 963 


. . 553 


. . 316 


. . 263 


. . 473 


. . 706 


. . 3727 


. . 2565 


. . 2411 


. , 4233 


. . 2255 


. . 2005 


. . 1684 


. . 2938 


. . 2125 


. . 1746 


. . 1680 

Making, from the year 1851 to 1890, a total of about 60,467 
persons, being an average of 15 11 '67 for each year. 

An examination of the above return demonstrates that a 
good or bad agricultural season is marked in the subsequent 
year, by the respective decrease or increase of emigration. 

The estimated population of the county was 6877 in the 



year 1659; 38,736 in 1760; 60,000 in 1792; 119,265 in 1812 ; 
146,229 in 1821 ; 171,508 in 1831. A tabular statement from 
1841 to 1881 is here given :- 



Province of 



Great Britain. 




o ^ 

be 3 



^ U ^ 

C -S C u 

C ^ 



'5 ^ 

Total . 


W U 



W rt ^ 




















































111,57s 1 

The estimated population of the county for the years named 
is as follows : 





It will thus be seen that from 1659 to 1841 the population 
continuously increased, since which period it has continuously 
declined. Immigration, however, is on the increase ; the 
number of English, Scotch, and Foreigners resident in the 
county being greater than ever. 

The decrease of population in the town of Sligo has taken 
place, seemingly, amongst the very poorest class. It is difficult 

Population of County Sligo by Baronies : 







per cent., 


Carbury, . . 






Coolavin, . . 






Corran, . . . 












Tireragh, . . 






Tirerrill, . . 






Total of County, 







to ascertain the exact numbers at any period within the borough, 
as the returns appear to have sometimes included the Parlia- 
mentary, and sometimes only the Municipal boundary. 

MUNICIPAL BOROUGH, including inmates of Public Institutions. 


No. of Inhabitants. 


No. of Inhabitants. 


... 488 


. . . 11,047 


. . . 7,001 


. . . 10,693 


. . . 9,283 


. . . 10,670 


. . . 15,152 


. . . 10,808 


. . . 12,272 



14,318 1861, . 

. 12,565+ 

Villages have decreased in nearly the same proportion ; 
Collooney, which in 1841 contained about 650 inhabitants, 
had in 1881 less than 400. According to the Census of 1881, 
Ballymote contained 1145 ; Tubbercurry, 1081 ; Bellahy, 274 ; 
Easky, 374 ; Aclare but 207 souls. 

In regard to general healthiness Sligo bears favourable com- 
parison with other portions of the kingdom, According to 
computation the town was, for the years 1864 to 1867, one of 
the healthiest in Ireland, the rates of total deaths to population 
being, in 1864, one in 687 ; in 1865, one in 63'0 ; in 1866, 
one in 70'4 ; in 1867, one in 72'3. In the death-rate registered 
from 1871 to 1880 the county stands second-lowest on the list 
of the whole of Ireland, with a death-rate of 14'1 per thousand 
of the population, the premier county, Mayo, having but 13'9, 
whilst the County Dublin is credited with 26*2 ; the average 
death-rate of the whole of Ireland, from 1879 to 1888, being 

* From 1871, the enumeration would appear to include the Parliamentary area. 
t Including 2430 inmates of Public Institutions. 
J Including 750 inmates of Public Institutions. 
Including 148 inmates of Union Workhouse. 



The following Return has been kindly furnished by Dr. T. 
W. Grimshaw, Registrar-General : 

Annual Death-rate per 1000 of the Population (in 1881), represented 
by the Deaths Registered in the County of Sligo (including the town) 
during each of the six years, 1885-90 : 


. 13-1 
. 12-6 



Annual Death-rate per 1000 of the Population (in 1881), represented 
by the Deaths Registered in the Urban Sanitary District, or Muni- 
cipal Borough of Sligo, during each of the ten years, 1881-90, 
exclusive of Deaths, in Public Institutions, of persons admitted front, 
other districts, derived from the Weekly Returns furnished by the 
Registrars : - 









. 18-0 


. 19-2 


. 17-7 


. 13-8 


. 14-8 



For the week ending 17th May, 1890, the official return in 
the principal urban sanitary districts of Ireland showed the 
average death-rate as 21 '8 per 1000 inhabitants, Sligo being 
the lowest, with but 4*8 ; the death-rate in Sligo for the week 
ending 14th June, 1890, was 14*4 per thousand (it was the same 
for week ending 28th June), the highest death rate being 41'0 
in Lurgan, the lowest, 8*6, in Wexford. 




make clear the after occurrences in the history 
of the Borough it may be well to give a brief out- 
line of the most salient features of its charters, and 
of the various Acts of Parliament which, from time 
time, modified or extended the powers of the governing 
body of the town : the details of each event will be given 
in historical sequence. The following is a synopsis of 
the charter of James I. by which Sligo was constituted a 
Borough : 

By Royal Letters Patent passed 30th March, in the eleventh 
year of his reign, the king ordained that the town, with all 
appertaining to it, should be one entire and free Borough of 
itself, by the name of " the Borough of Sligo," and that within 
this Borough there should be one body corporate and politic, 
consisting of "one Provost, twelve free Burgesses, and the 
Commonalty," with powers for all future time to purchase, 
receive, and possess lands, tenements, and other goods, as well 
as to dispose of the same ; there was a sweeping clause enabling 
them " to do and execute all and singularother deeds and things," 
also that this body so constituted could sue at law and be sued, 
and that they should have power to elect ** two discreet and fit 
men " to serve in every Parliament. 

The king nominated Roger Jones as first Provost of the 
Borough, and the following as the twelve free Burgesses: 
Sir William Taaffe, Knight ; John St. Barbe, 1 Edward Crofton, 

1 Captain John St. Barbe was of the family of St. Barbe, of South Brent, 
Co. Somerset, whose ancestor Robert de St. Barbe appears on the Roll of 
Battle Abbey. According to the Fun: Ent: Ulster Office, 1629, Captain 
St. Barbe bore the arms of the English family. He married Mary, daughter 


William Harrison, Hugh Jones, Edmond Braxton, Richard 
Eobinson, Thomas Linseie, John Hopkins, Thomas Grimbell, and 
William Wilson. These, although elected for life, yet by act of 
the Corporation itself could be removed for bad conduct or for 
any reasonable cause. 

Powers were granted for re-election of fresh burgesses to 
vacancies caused by removal, resignation, or death, the election 
to be held within seven days after the vacancy had occurred. 
The Provost before the installation, had to take the " oath of 
supremacy " as well as the ordinary oath ; this office was annual 
and elective, the term being from " The feast of the Nativity of 
St. John the Baptist " to " The feast of St. Michael the Arch- 

Liberty was given to hold, on every Tuesday, a Court of 
Eecord, presided over by the Provost, no case to be tried affect- 
ing money matters which exceeded " five marks sterling." The 
Corporation had power to make by-laws, inflict fines, and punish 
any persons offending against them, provided these by-laws were 
not contrary to the laws and statutes of the kingdom ; they were 
also granted " a guild of Merchants and a Common seal." They 
could appoint two " Sergeants at Mace " and other inferior 
officers, and the Provost was in virtue of his office clerk of 
the market. If brought into litigation, all powers granted 
were to be construed to the greatest advantage of the Corpo- 

About eight years subsequently the king further increased 
the power of the Corporation by granting to them a charter of the 
Staple, i.e. the right to hold a public mart, and other privileges. 
A court was appointed to be held before the Mayor of the Staple, 
and was governed by the law-merchant. 

The charter recites that the wool of the country had not 
been worked up into cloth and other goods as in England, nor 
had the people " been set on work " in such manufacture ; but 

of Edward Warburton, of the House of Arley, Cheshire, and left but one 
daughter, Ursula, who married 19th May, 1645, Sir William Ussher, junior, 
of Dublin, a widower. The Usshers of Eastwell, Co. Galway, are the repre- 
sentatives of the St. Barbes in the female line. 


the raw material had been exported to foreign parts and in 
foreign vessels, to the serious prejudice of the sale and retail of 
the trade of the kingdom, and to the great impoverishment of 
all concerned. Full licence was therefore granted to export 
various manufactured articles from the port of Sligo, without 
duty, and Roger Jones, Esq., Edward Carpenter, Andrew Crean, 
EdmondBraxton, Richard Robbins, John Hopkins, John Wood- 
ward, John O'Fewley, Robuck Crean, William Crean, James 
French, and John French, Merchants, were constituted a body 
corporate to have a perpetual succession, by the name of " The 
Mayor, Constables, and Society of the Merchants of the Staple." 
This body could choose from amongst themselves yearly a 
Mayor and two Constables for the government of the Merchants 
of the Staple, in the same manner as was customary in England, 
and they could sue and be sued at law, and could assemble for 
business whenever they thought necessary, and had power to 
admit into the society merchants and " other fit persons," with 
power to appoint under-officers for a period of twelve months ; 
they could make such by-laws as they might deem expedient to 
the same extent as the Merchants of the Staple in England. 
This body was given full powers to trade in all kinds of 
wool, woollen stuffs, yarn, and hides, with all ports in Ireland 
and, subject to some light duties, with the cities of London, 
Bristol, and Chester, and the towns of Barn staple, Liverpool, and 
Millthorp, together with other privileges and immunities ; also 
to purchase and hold lands, &c. ; but these were not to exceed 
10 per annum of clear annual profit. 

On account of its archaeological interest, a brief outline is 
annexed of the Grant of James II. ; it is, however, of no legal 
value. The charter, after reciting that the town of Sligo was 
an ancient Borough, and that the Provost, free Burgesses, and 
Commonalty had enjoyed great liberties and privileges, re- 
constituted it a Borough, the previous charter having been 
annulled for the time, either by a quo war rant o or a forced sur- 
render. Instead, however, of twelve, twenty-four Burgesses 
were now appointed ; the power of returning two members to 
Parliament was re-affirmed, as also the power of the Provost 


and Burgesses to elect freemen who alone were to constitute the 
" Commonalty." 

The Provost had not only to take the usual oath, but also 
the following: 

" I do hereby acknowledge, profess, testify, and declare in my 
conscience before God and the world, that our Sovereign Lord King 
James is lawful and rightful King of this Realm, and other his 
Majesty's dominions and countries, and I will bear faith and true 
allegiance to his Majesty, his heirs and successors, and him and them 
will defend to the utmost of my power against all conspiracies and 
attempts which shall be made against his, or their Crown, and dignity, 
and do my best endeavours to disclose and make known to his Majesty, 
his heirs, and successors, or to the Lord Deputy, or other Chief Governor 
or Governors, of this Kingdom for the time being, all treasons and 
traitorous conspiracies which I shall know, or hear, to be intended 
against his Majesty, his heirs, and successors, or any of them, and I 
do make this recognition and acknowledgment heartily, willingly and 
truly, upon the true faith of a Christian. And also I do declare and 
believe that it is not lawful upon any pretence whatsoever, to take 
arms against the king, and that I do abhor that traitorous position of 
taking arms by his authority, 1 against his person or against those that 
are commissioned by him. 

The Provost, in case of absence had power to appoint a 
Deputy, and in case of death, resignation, or removal the 
Burgesses were entitled to appoint to the vacancy within fifteen 
days. The charter confirmed other privileges as well as the 
grant of the Staple : James French was, however, made Mayor, 
and Peter Darcy and Anthony Creagh, Constables of the Staple, 
instead of those already in office. Most of the clauses were 
confirmed, but with restrictions ; the right was reserved to the 
Crown to remove at pleasure any Provost or Burgess, or to 
cancel the election of any Town Clerk, nor could any such do any 
official act until he had received a confirmation of his appoint- 
ment. The changes intended to be made by the charter of 
James II. would have been sufficient to give entire control of 

1 All the first commissions of those acting in opposition to Jaraes II. were 
made out in his name to carry out a legal fiction. 


the Borough to the Crown, the new Burgesses being its nominees 
and the Crown further had power to remove any obnoxious 
individual; also the oath to be taken before being installed in 
office was sufficient to exclude any conscientious opponent. 1 

For all practical purposes the two grants of James I. re- 
mained in force, and were the Charters of the Corporation. By 
an Act passed in the reign of George II. (3 G. II. c. 21) the 
Corporation became conservators of the port, and maintained a 
Ballast Office for improving it ; but the Act of 5 George III. 
c. 14, s. 35 empowered vestries to repair the streets of corporate 
towns, and undertake flagging, paving, &c. Subsequently in 
Sligo the vestry namely that of St. John's Union levied the 
rates, licensed beggars, appointed watchmen, undertook the 
lighting (or not lighting, as was sometimes the case) of the 
streets, levied money for payment of the Militia, and in point 
of fact, from circa 1766 up to 1800, the duties of the Provost and 
free Burgesses of the town appear as a perusal of their minutes 
demonstrates to have been principally the election of two 
members of Parliament for the Borough. 

The statute of 40 George III. c. 99 (1800) is the first local 
Act, and it vested the powers conferred in the following com- 
missioners : 

(1) The Provost and Burgesses of the Corporation of Sligo ; (2) the 
representatives in Parliament for the county and town ; (3) and the 
following persons elected for life, viz : Yiscount Palmerston, Lord 
Dundas, Lord Kirkwall, Sir Booth Gore, Et. Hon. Joshua Cooper, 
William Burton, Alexander Hume, Abraham Martin, Thomas Holmes, 
John Ellis, William Todd, and John Black, Esquires. 

In 1803 a second Act was passed, which restricted, and in 
some instances abolished, the powers conferred by the prior Act 
of 1800, notably the clause for erecting waterworks ; but it 
conferred, in some cases, greater power upon twenty-four 
Commissioners elected for life by 20 householders, and these 

1 The above synopsis of the three charters of Sligo, is made from 
translations of the originals, kindly furnished by J. J. Digges La Touche, 
Deputy Keeper of the Records. It is strange that the Corporation do not 
possess any of these documents. 



Commissioners acted also in the same capacity for the port 
and harbour. Their names are here given : 

Thomas Holmes, "William Barrett, Andrew Faussett, Thomas 
Ormsby, James Wood, John Irwin, Roger Parke, "William Harloe 
Phibbs, Abraham Martin, Andrew Hume, Charles Martin, Alexander 
Hume, the Rev. Charles West, Alexander M'Creery, Neal M 'Donald, 
Albert Blest, Ignatius Everard, John King, John M'Mullin, William 
Phillips, Thomas Burnside, Jones Irwin, John Ellis, Henry Hart, and 
their successors, together with the representatives in Parliament for 
the county and borough, as also the Provost and Burgesses for the time 

These Commissioners soon became as close a borough as had 
been the former governing body ; the process was thus described 
in 1833 : The entire number of Commissioners was 40. Mr. 
"Wynne (represented by the Provost) and his 12 Burgesses made 
up 13 of these ; the member for the borough and the two county 
members of the latter one was his son-in-law, the other being 
a freeman increased his number to 15 ; the inhabitants of the 
town elected 24 by ballot. In course of time, however, many 
of the original Commissioners having died or resigned, Mr. 
Wynne, from his large property and influence, succeeded in 
filling several of those vacancies ; thus the Corporators obtained 
a majority out of the 24 members elected under the Sligo Act, 
though if Mr. Wynne had induced only five of them to join 
those already enumerated, it would have sufficed to give him a 
preponderating influence. 

The Reform Bill of 1832 threw open the Parliamentary 
representation of the borough to a considerable electorate. Until 
the passing of that Imperial Act, the head for the time being 
of the Wynne family had, from the year 1723, represented, 
in his own person, the Corporation, and also the electors of 
Sligo, both for Parliamentary and local purposes. In conse- 
quence of the abuses and defective administration connected 
with the local government of all corporate towns in the United 
Kingdom, the Crown, in 1833, acceding to an address from 
both Houses of Parliament, issued Eoyal Commissions, and in 
consequence of the reports from these bodies, Parliament con- 


sidered it to be incumbent on it to interpose ; and from the date 
of the Municipal Eeform Act, 3 & 4 Yict. c. 108 (1842), Sligo 
was governed by a town council who administered the local 
affairs of the borough, enabling the reformed Corporation to 
levy a local rate of threepence in the pound. This sum, however, 
even when supplemented by the independent and separate 
revenue of the body, was found insufficient to make the 
municipal payments considered necessary by them. Other 
towns, at various times, had large grants of lands made to them ; 
but in Sligo the revenue seems never to have increased beyond 
the original endowment. 

Until 1842, the only property belonging to the Corporation 
was about 20 acres of land, called " The Commons," together 
with a plot of ground, formerly used as a pound for cattle, but 
now built upon ; and the revenue of these lands, which did not 
amount to 100 per annum, was applied by the Patron of the 
borough to the payment of the Provost. Commonages near 
towns and villages were by no means unusual, and the Irish 
name, pronounced cutteen, by which they were designated, has 
(according to Dr. Joyce) bequeathed its name to Ardcotten 
the hill of the commonage near the village of Ballysadare, 
and in its plural form to Cutteanta, in the parish of Dromard. 

In olden times " The Commons " appear to have been set to 
a member of the Corporation, generally on a lease of 41 years ; 
in 1744, when the Messrs. De Butt were pressed for their rent, 
they pleaded, as a set-off, a sum of 60 which was to have been 
paid to them, in the year 1719, in three equal instalments, and 
numerous instances occur in which the land was set to members 
of the Corporation ; in later times it appears to have been dis- 
posed of by public cant ; in 1855 the Town Council resolved to 
procure the outside value for the lands, and The Sligo Champion 
newspaper of that year thus comments on the subject : 

"The ground belonging to the Corporation is to be fairly valued, 
and set accordingly. For this an outcry has been made against the 
Town Council for their want of liberality. We think they propose to 
do nothing more than what is just, to value the lands, and to give the 
existing tenants the option of retaining their holdings or of giving them 



up. In the latter case, compensation will be given for their outlay ; 
not however, we assume, at their own valuation, for in that case it 
would be better, at once, to make them a present in fee of the land, 
and in addition enter into a covenant to pay all future rates and taxes 
on it for them." 

On the 1st August, 1877, a resolution, seconded by Mr. 
Kidd, was passed, to the effect "that considering the Corporation 
property is now worth more than the rent at which it has been 
set to tenants since 1855, 'notice to quit' be served on the tenants 
in proper time, before next gale day, for the purpose of having 
a re-letting of the property at best rents to be had, which 
it is believed will be considerably over the rent now being 

An amusing incident occurred in December, 1850, when the 
Corporation, through the Town Clerk, summoned one of their 
tenants on "the Commons," before the Barrister, for committing 
waste on their property by cutting down a white-thorn hedge. 
The case was dismissed, as the tenant had in reality improved 
the fence ; and when leaving the Court, he assured the Bench, 
that in memory of the trial, he would call his house in the future 
"The White-thorn." The Town Clerk, in a tone of bitterness, 
threw after him the suggestion, that he would probably find a 
more appropriate designation in that of " The Hedge-Hog." 

In 1846 (9 Yict. c. 24) was passed the third local Act, 
amending that of 1803. Its chief object was to define the 
Harbour-dues to be levied upon articles of import and export, 
but other alterations in the prior Act were also introduced ; by 
it the Members of Parliament for the County and Borough, 
who seldom attended, were disqualified from being ex-officio 
Members of the Board; and it was enacted, that the limits of 
the Port and Harbour were to be clearly defined by landmarks. 
This Bill was introduced by the Harbour Commissioners them- 
selves, under charge of three members of that body ; and it was 
subsequently alleged that sufficient provision was not made, or 
sufficient care taken for proper equalization of the numerous 

Before the passing of the fourth local Act (1869) Sligo had 


been governed by three distinct bodies, each with a separate 
staff of officers: 

(1) The Corporation, having power to levy a 3d. rate, which 
amounted to about 220 per annum ; 

(2) The Town Commissioners a Is. Wd. rate which averaged 1500 ; 

(3) The Grand Jury, with powers to levy an unlimited rate, which 
usually varied from 2s. 3d. to a maximum of 2s. 6^., and averaged about 

These combined levies were computed at from 3600 to 
3700 per annum. There was also the poor-rate, which was 
then about 4s. in the pound. 

The records of the Corporation of Sligo from its creation in 
1612 up to the year 1709 that is to say during a period of 
nearly one hundred years are unfortunately missing, and the 
names of but few Provosts, during that long interval have as 
yet been ascertained. 

Eoger Jones was the first Provost ; George Crofton, 1616, 
recommended as "fit to be inserted in the Commission of the 
Peace for the County Sligo" in that year; Eobert Gamble, 
1641-2; John Braxton, 1643; and during the reign of Charles 
II. there was a Captain Charles Collis. The remaining records 
of the election of Chief Officer of the Corporation commence in 
the year 1709, and are endorsed "A Booke of Eecord for the 
Burrough of Sligoe from y e 21st of April 1709." A list of 
Provosts as extracted from the above is given below 1 . From 

1 1709, James Bennett and John De Butt, vice Bennett, deceased ; 1710, 
John De Butt ; 1711, John Booth; 1712-1 714, John De Butt ; 1715, James 
Murrayelected, but refused to take the oath William Ormsby elected in 
his stead; 1716-1717, Thomas Jennings; 1718-1719, John Booth; 
1720-1721, John De Butt; 1722-1724, Mitchelburn Knox; 1725-1726, 
Owen Wynne; 1727-1729, George Ormsby; 1730-1733, Owen Wynne; 
1734-1753, Laurence Vernon ; in the latter year, Owen Wynne the elder, 
vice Yernon, deceased William Vernon, Deputy Provost; 1754-1759, 
William Vernon ; in the latter year Edward Martin, vice Vernon, deceased ; 
1760-1768, Edward Martin; in the latter year he resigned Rt. Hon. Owen 
Wynne elected in his stead; Rev. Thomas Cuff, Deputy Provost ; 1769-1774, 
Rev. Thomas Cuff ; in the latter year Rt. Hon. Owen Wynne elected vice 
Cuff, deceased ; 1775-1783, Folliott Wynne ; in the latter year Philip 
Birne vice Wynne, deceased; 1784, Owen Wynne the younger Thomas 


1785 to 1818 Thomas Soden was annually re-elected ; but it 
would appear as" if tKe continuance of the same person in office 
for such a lengthened period was attended with some disadvan- 
tages, as, from 1821 to 1842 (the year of the Municipal Eeform 
Act), John Ormsby and William Fausset occupied the post 
during alternate years. 

The oath of the Provost on taking office was as follows : 

" You shall swear that you well and truly shall serve our Sovereign 
Lord the King and his Liege people in the office of Provost, and as 
Provost of the Town and Borough of Sligo, for and during the space 
of one whole year, now next ensuing. AND YOU shall minister equal 
justice as well to the poor as to the rich, to the best of your cunning, 
wit, and power. AND YOU shall diligently procure such things to be 
done as may honestly and justly be to the profit and commodities of 
the Corporation of this town, and also endeavour yourself to the 
utmost of your power to see all heresies, treasons, felonies, and all 
other trespasses, misdemeanors, and offences whatsoever, to be com- 
mitted within this Town and Borough during the time of your office, to 
be redressed, reformed, and amended, and the offenders duly punished, 
according to law. AND FINALLY, you shall support, uphold, and 
maintain the Commonwealth within the Town, prescribed customs, 
rights, liberties, jurisdictions, franchises, compositions, and all lawful 
ordinances of this Town and Borough. AND as concerning all other 
things appertaining to your office, you shall therein faithfully and 
uprightly behave yourself for the most quietness, benefit, worship, 
honesty, and credit of this Town, and of the inhabitants thereof." 

A Provost had power to absent himself from his bailiwick, 
appointing, however, a deputy, who should, of course, be a free- 
man and burgess. An example occurred, in 1715, when 
William Ormsby, Provost, was returned as a Knight of the 
Shire. He thereupon nominated John Booth to act for him 
as deputy, in consideration of which he allowed him " to receive 
for his pains and trouble therein all rents due and payable to 
the Provost of the Corporation, and also all fines, quarterages, 

Soden, Deputy Provost; 1785-1818, Thomas Soden ; in the latter year 
Rev. William Chambers Armstrong, vice cloSeii, deceased; 1819, William 
Faussett; 1820, Rev. W. C. Armstrong ; 1821, William Faussett ; 1822, 
Rev. W. C. Armstrong, whilst Wm. Faussett and J. Ormsby were alter- 
nately appointed until 1842, the latter being the last Provost of Sligo. 


fees, and other profits and perquisites belonging to that office 
during the time of his (Ormsby's) absence." Every day, at a 
stated hour, the Provost sat in a small house by courtesy 
styled a courthouse in the Market, for the purpose of settling 
disputes. His jurisdiction there, only extended to sums not 
exceeding three pounds six shillings and eight pence, Irish ; but 
over a Court of Eecord, to a larger amount. 

The first legal step in an action before the Provost was " a 
)mplaint," which was entered in a book, the plaintiff alleging 
that there was a sum of money due to him by a person residing 
in the borough ; for if the cause of action did not occur within 
those limits, the case could not be entertained. " The action was 
then issued," in the form of an order to attach the goods of the 
defendant, or as a " service action " or notice to the defendant 
to appear at the next Court ; and if necessary a jury was em- 
pannelled; they might try any number of cases, each, however, 
separately ; but no verdict was given until all the cases to be 
disposed of had been heard. 

At the commencement of the 18th century, law appears to 
have been a not very expensive luxury, even if the difference in 
money-value between that period and the present be taken 
into consideration. The following scale of fees was drawn up 
in the year 1709 : 


s. d. 

For an arrest by the Provost, 06 

To the Eecorder, 06 

To the Sergeant, 06 

To the Attorney, 26 

To the Recorder, for filing the bill, . . . .06 
For Grace of Court (if required) to the Provost, . 6 
Next court, if sworn for continuance of the action, to 

the Recorder and Town Clerk, . . . .26 
To the Recorder and Town Clerk for the execution, . 2 6 
Clearing the book, upon withdrawing an action, . 1 
Attorney's appearance, upon any cause, to the Re- 
corder, . . . . . . . .06" 

A prisoner who was discharged was said to be " turned at 
liberty" ; and whilst he was in custody in gaol he was described 


as " in the Marshalls." It may be surmised that the sergeants 
of the borough sometimes extorted money from prisoners by 
keeping them "in the Marshalls," and delaying to bring them 
before the Provost; for by an order of the Corporation, 29th 
September, 1778, it was made obligatory on the sergeants to 
bring all defendants who tendered bail to the Eecorder, and he, 
for taking the recognizance, was to be paid "the sum of 6^d." 
for entering them in a book to be kept for the purpose. The 
following were, as far as can be ascertained, the Town Clerks 
and Eecorders of Sligo : 

1687, Laurence O'Hara; 1709, George Bennett; 1722, Thomas 
Jennings; 1729, Laurence Vernon; 1783, Eobert Clark; 1797, John 
Black; 1815, Koger Archibald ; 1819, James Christian; 1823, Charles 
J. Hartley; 1834, "William Allen (in 1849 he resigned, received a 
retiring pension, and was succeeded by Edmund Rochfort) ; 1861, 
George Whittaker was appointed, and on his decease James M'Kim 
was elected; he resigned in 1882, and was succeeded by Daniel 
MacGill, the present officer. 

As may be observed, the implements of public punishment 
were kept in needful repair : 

"Borough of Sligo, September 29th, 1726. Whereas there is a 
stocks much wanting in the said Borough, WE, the Provost and Free 
Burgesses of the said Borough, being assembled this day in Common 
Council, do order that the sum of one pound three shillings sterling, 
be applotted and levied off the said Borough to make a new pair of 
stocks, and furnish the same with lock and key. As WITNESS our 
hands this 29th day of September, 1726. 

Applotters of the said money.' 11 

Entries from time to time occur in the Corporation books 
relative to the repairing of this implement of punishment ; in 
1806 a pillory was erected ; in 1807 the Grand Jury expended 
about 6 to make stocks for the town of Sligo ; in 1808 stocks 
were ordered for Easky, and in 1812 for Ballymote. In 1840 
the Sligo stocks were still in existence in the hall of the court- 


During the seventeenth century, transportation was a 
common form of punishment, and transportation to the 
American Plantations was carried on until the War of Indepen- 
dence. There is given a list of " apprentices " bound to 
Nicholas Cribb, of Liverpool, " to serve in Virginia, or any other 
of His Majesty's Plantations abroad." Their ages varied from 
12 to 22, and the period of their " apprenticeship " from 5 to 
8 years. There is an entry of three men sentenced to transpor- 
tation at the " general assizes, and gaol-delivery held for the 
County of Sligo, the third day of April, 1724," and these were 
" servants " to William Dickson, master of the " Bettzoy " of 
Dublin, bound for Antigua ; whilst in the year 1733, thirteen 
criminals sentenced to transportation from the Counties of 
Sligo, Leitrim, and Eoscommon, were also shipped to the same 
locality ; Isaac Smith, " master of the good ship Dolphin," 
entering into a security of 50 that he would " deliver the 
above-mentioned persons transported, in Antigua, in the West 
Indies, the dangers of the sea, and mortality excepted " ! In the 
year 1736, ten criminals were shipped to Virginia ; in 1737, 
three boys were sent as "apprentices" to Antigua; and in 1745 
three criminals were despatched to Virginia for seven years ; in 
1769 four criminals, sentenced to transportation, "were bound 
to Mr. Charles King, of Sligo, merchant, and John Fife, of the 
good ship, or snow, 1 called 'The Recovery' of Sligo, bound to 
Philadelphia." At that early date it may thus be seen that 
Sligo was in direct trading communication with America ; whilst 
in 1771 two more criminals were " bound to Mr. Alexander 
Erskine, of Sligo, merchant, and Manus Mac Shane, master of 
the good ship called the Pitt, bound to Baltimore, in Mary- 

The Provost and Burgesses looked after the lighting and 
watching of the town, more especially " when none of the army " 
were at hand. They also saw that no unlicensed beggars were 
permitted to ply their trade ; this latter duty fell afterwards to 

1 A snow signifies a vessel equipped with two masts resembling the 
main and foremast of a ship, and a third small mast just abaft the main- 
mast, carrying a topsail. 


the lot of the Yestry of St. John's. Beggars'-badges were in 
general use in many towns during the last century, and they 
conferred a right to beg; otherwise, under Statute Law, beggars 
were liable to whipping and enforced removal from the locality. 
The badges were made of metal, and were worn on the arm. In 
Scotland licensed beggars wore a distinctive costume, and were 
called " Blue-gowns" (vide Sir Walter Scott's " Antiquary"). 

In olden days the regulation of the town did not cost the 
ratepayers any exorbitant sum, whilst the ruling authorities had 
a very summary mode of abating nuisances : 

" Borough of Sligo to Wit. At a Meeting and Assembly of the 
Provost and free Burgesses of the said Borough, held the 29th day of 
September, 1762. WHEREAS, it appears to us, this day, by the oath 
of James Gibson, that the ball-yard in Stephen- street, kept by Robert 
Clark, glazier, is a place which creates idleness, drunkeness, and dis- 
orders within the Corporation, and is a grievous nuisance to the 
industrious and sober inhabitants therein. THEREFORE we the Provost 
and Burgesses do present the said ball-yard to be a common nuisance, 
and do order that the same may be removed. 

" EDWARD MARTIN, Provost" 

From circa 1766 to 1800 the watching and lighting of the town 
devolved on the Yestry of St. John's ; on the 4th January, 1785, 
the Yestry resolved that " the watchmen of this town shall be 
discontinued from the present day." Shortly afterwards, how- 
ever, they were re-appointed. The system of night- watching 
was always very bad : even so late as 1856 the watchmen went 
about lantern in hand calling the hours, and carrying a pole 
to which a hook was attached. They were dressed in great 
coats and " sou- wester " hats. In 1859 there were but " eight 
watchmen appointed to protect the lives and properties of the 
inhabitants of the town during the silent hours of the night." 
They were nearly all old men, who on most occasions moved off 
from the vicinity of a row, instead of grappling with the ring- 
leaders. This state of affairs only terminated when the watching 
of the town was intrusted to the Royal Irish Constabulary. 
Shortly before the abolition of the watchmen, one of their 
number was remonstrated with for not arresting a disturber of 


the midnight quiet who belonged to the better class of society. 
"I've been watchman, man and boy, for the last forty years/' 
he retorted " and sorrah a gentleman ever I took up ! " 

The lighting of the town was quite on a par with the watch- 
ing ; in 1785 the Yestry of St. John's ordered that " lamps be 
erected in such places as the directors should think most con- 
venient," but a fresh meeting was summoned at which large 
numbers attended, and the above order was rescinded, it being 
"resolved that no lamps were necessary." 

Prior to 1709 the names of few Burgesses can be traced, except 
lose recited in the three charters of Sligo. The members 
forming the Corporation from circa 1692 to 1709 the year 
when the records yet extant commence appear to have been: 
Sir Francis Lycester, Arthur Cooper, Benjamin Burton, Ealfe 
Gore, Percy Gethin, Philip Cox, William Ormsby, William 
Smith, Arthur Gore, Mitchelburn Knox, Eichard Gore, James 
Murray. A further list of Burgesses from 1709 to the Munici- 
pal Eeform Act of 1842 as far as could be ascertained may 
be seen in Appendix (F). The oath of a Burgess on taking 
was as follows: 

"You shall swear that you well and truly shall serve our Sovereign 
Lord the King and his Heirs and lawful successors and the inhabitants 
of this town and Borough of Sligo as one of the Burgesses of the town 
and shall minister equal justice to poor and rich after the best of your 
cunning wit and power. AND also shall well and truly observe, 
perform, fulfil and keep all such good order, rules, and compositions, 
as are, or shall be made, ordered, or established by the Common 
Council of this town, for the good government thereof, in all things to 
you appertaining. AND you shall not utter or disclose any council or 
secret thing, or matter touching the fellowship or corporation of the 
town whereby any prejudice, loss, hindrance, or slander shall, or may 
arise, grow, or be to the same Corporation ; but you shall in all things 
belonging to the Fellowship and Corporation of the town, faithfully, 
honestly and indifferently behave yourself for the most benefit, 
worship, and honesty of the town, and the inhabitants thereof." 

The following as far as can be ascertained is a list of the 
freemen of the Borough of Sligo: 

1709, John Stanley; 1716, John Devine, Bryan Kelly; 1717, 
William Wilson, John M'Kill ; 1718, James Smith, George Ross; 



1720, John Birr ; 1721, William Levenston, William Morgan, Mathew 
Andrew, John (?) Salley, Thomas Collens ; 1722, William Armstrong, 
Laurence Beltridge, Caleb Bell, George Hinson; 1724, William Gibson; 
1725, Henry King, Charles King, Francis Bele, Junior, John King, 
Mathew Slater; 1736, Rev. Luke (?) Agh ; 1738, Francis Hall, 
Robert King, Arthur Martin ; Rt. Hon. John Earl of Enniskillen, 
Hon. Lowry Cole, Edward Bulteel. 

Three presentations made of the freedom of the Borough 
were attended with special marks of courtesy: 

"Borough of Sligo to Wit. We the Provost and Free Burgesses 
of the said Borough being assembled here this day do unanimously admit 
the Rev. Doctor William Henery to be a Freeman of this Corporation, 
and that his said Freedom be presented to him by the Provost in a 
Silver Box, for his attachment and good services to the said Corporation 
and the Cbunty in general. Given under our hands at the Town Hall 
this 29th day of September, 1760. 

" EDWARD MARTIN, Provost. 



"Borough of Sligo to Wit. At a meeting of the Provost and Free 
Burgesses of said Borough, on Wednesday the 15th day of October, 
1806, it was resolved that an address be presented to his Grace the 
Duke of Bedford, Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, in a Gold Box. Given 
under our hands and seal of our Corporation the 15th October, 1806. 

"J. SODEN, Provost." 

" Borough of Sligo to Wit. At a meeting of the Provost and Bur- 
gesses of the Corporation, holden on Friday, the 7th of September, 
1810, Thos. Soden, Esq., Provost, in the chair, resolved unanimously 
that the Freedom of this Corporation, accompanied by a Gold Box, be 
given to his Grace the Duke of Richmond, and that an address be 
presented to his Grace." 

It would appear as if apprentices were originally made free 
of the town on the expiration of their term of servitude, as 
otherwise they could not have carried on business. Two 
examples will suffice: 

"Borough of Sligo. This day Edward Scanlan received his In- 
denture and his discharge thereon from his Master, James Friell, of 
Sligo (apothecary), bearing date the first day of March, 1708, having 


served his time truly and honestly for seven years, and likewise is a 
Protestant of the Church of Ireland, as by Law established. As 
witness our hand this 12th day of May, 1716. 

"GEOEGE BENNETT, Town Clerk and Recorder" 

"Borough of Sligo. This day James Henery received his Inden- 
ture from his Mistress, his Master being dead, and having served six 
years, was discharged of the other year, having served the said six 
years honestly to the art and trade of felt-making, and being a Pro- 
testant of the Church of Ireland, as established by Law. As witness 
my hand this 25th day of March, 1718. 

" GEOKGE BENNETT, Town Clerk." 

In the year 1731 this stringent by-law was enacted : 

"Borough of Sligo, At a Court held for the said Borough by 
Owen Wynne, Esq., Provost, July 18th, 1732. Ordered by the Provost 
of the said Borough, pursuant to the By-Law made by the Provost 
and Free Burgesses of the said Borough, the 24th day of June, 1731 : 
That all persons, inhabiting in the Town of Sligo, exercising any 
trade, art, or mystery in the said Borough, all sellers, or any other 
occupation, shall forthwith enter their names upon record before 
Laurence Yernon, Recorder of the said Borough, and agree with him 
for quarterage, giving security for their good behaviour in the said 
Borough, and in the sum of three pounds six shillings and eight pence 
to indemnify the said Borough. And that all foreigners shall produce 
certificates, from whence they come, before they are licensed to follow 
any trade or business in the said Corporation. 

" OWEN WYNNE, Provost." 

The above resolution was thus further strengthened : 

"Borough of Sligo. At a Court held for the said Borough, the 
15th November, 1732. That pursuant to an order of the Provost 
and Free Burgesses, dated the 24th of June, 1731, and also an order 
dated the 18th of July, 1732, that all people living in the said Borough 
who exercise any trade or occupation (except Freemen 1 ) should enter 

1 The Oath of a Freeman on admission was as follows : 
" You shall swear that you shall be true liegeman, and true faith and 
truth bear to our Sovereign Lord the King, his heirs and lawful successors, 
and to your power shall aid and assist the Provost, Burgesses, and other 
officers of the Borough of Sligo, for the time being, and to them shall be 
ohedient and attendant, concerning such things as they, or any of them, 
shall lawfully and reasonably command you to do. You shall also well and 


their names and security on Eecord to pay Quarterage ; that if any 
person from henceforth shall exercise trade before they enter into 
such security, or receive and compound for their Quarterage, not 
exceeding two shillings and sixpence. That the persons neglecting 
to enter themselves, as aforesaid, shall have their shops shut up, and 
be debarred from following any trade or occupation in the said Borough 

for the future. 

" OWEN WYNNE, Provost" 

By the Municipal Eeform Act of 1842 the town of Sligo 
was divided into East, West, and North Wards, and on the 
25th October the first election for the reformed Corporation took 
place, the Liberal party carrying the East and West Wards. 
The qualification for Councillorship at that time required a rated 
valuation of 25, or Declaration of being worth 1,000 over 
all just debts; two aldermen and six councillors were returned 
by each Ward. 

One of the first acts of the new body was to dismiss all the 
old officials, because " they had not the confidence of the Coun- 
cil," who further refused to give the Town Clerk any compen- 
sation for the loss of his fees and emoluments as registrar of the 
Provost, and keeper of the Borough records, but the case being 
brought before the Queen's Bench, it was directed that compen- 
sation should be awarded him. 

Some of the mayors first appointed were willing to bear, 
from their own resources, the expenses attendant on the office, 
but on the 3rd July, 1854, it was resolved, " that a salary of 
one hundred and fifty pounds per annum be allowed the present 
Mayor for the year 1854, commencing from the 1st of January 
last, and that a salary of the same amount be given to his 
successors in the Mayoralty." 

truly observe, perform, fulfil, and keep all such rules and orders as are, and 
shall be, made and established by the Common Council of this Corporation 
for the good government thereof, in all things to you appertaining. You 
shall also give, yield, and be contributory to, and with, the Corporation of 
the town, so far-f orth as you ought, or shall be chargeable, to do ; and you 
shall not, by colour of your Freedom, bear out, or cover under you, any 
foreign person or stranger, but according to the best of your skill, wit, 
cunning, and power, you shall uphold and maintain all the liberties, fran- 
chises, good customs, orders, and usages of this town and Corporation." 


The preponderance of either political party on the Burgess 
Eoll, in elections in the West Ward, was seldom more than 
from eight to ten, and it varied from period to period, owing to 
death, or removal, so that, at any time, a few persons could turn 
the scale in the conflict, and this ward therefore soon became the 
" fighting ward " or battle-field of the two political parties the 
North ward being strongly Conservative and the East as strongly 
liberal. At the election in November, 1859, the Conservatives 
carried two seats, which gave a majority in the Town Council ; 
and in 1867 it was unanimously resolved that : " in order to 
place the office of chief magistrate, as far as possible out of the 
range of politics and divest it of all political character, that the 
Mayor of this Borough be in future elected alternately from 
those holding Conservative and Liberal opinions, so that in future 
each side of the house shall do their best to induce a cordial 
good feeling in the Corporation, and by sinking their political 
differences, unite their best efforts for the moral and material 
improvement of the Borough." This compact was honourably 
observed until the year 1889, when it was broken through by 
the Liberal party. The succession of the Mayors of Sligo, from 
the Municipal Reform Act to the present time, is as follows : 

1843 Martin Madden; 1844-1845 Michael Gallagher; 1846 Henry 
O'Connor ; 1847 Andrew Walker; 1848 Robert M'Bride ; 1849 Mosea 
Mondes; 1850-1854 Edward Howard Verdon; 1855 Daniel M'Gill; 
1856-1858 John M'Gowan ; 1859 John McCarthy ; 1860 Henry Lyons ; 
1861 Abraham Dobbin ; 1862 W. H. Williams ; 1863 Robert Hunter ; 
1864 Charles Sedley ; 1865 W. A. Woods; 1866 T. H. Williams; 
1867 Henry Lyons; 1868 James Tighe ; 1869 Alexander Gillmor ; 
1870 James Kidd ; 1871 Charles Anderson ; 1872 James Kidd; 1873 
T. H. Williams; 1874 Maurice Conroy ; 1875 Robert Crawford; 
1876 James Doherty ; 1877 James Nelson ; 1878 Thomas O'Donovan; 
1879 Alexander Gillmor; 1880 John Walsh; 1881 S. M. Cherry; 
1882 Bernard Collery; 1883 W. A. Woods; 1884 Bernard Collery; 
1885 James Nelson; 1886 Richard M'Donogh ; 1887 James Nelson; 
1888 P. A. M'Hugh ; 1889-1890 John Connolly; 1891 T. Connolly. 

Apparently the Municipal Reform Act of 1842 did not confer 
a separate Commission of the Peace for Magistrates of the 
Borough, the Mayor alone being empowered to adjudicate; but 


on the 27th February, 1843, an application was made to the 
Lord Lieutenant for that favour, and it was successfully renewed 
in 1846, James Madden, Aldermen Walker, Kernaghan, and 
Anderson being the earliest Borough magistrates. 

From the commencement of their existence the Town Council 
had been dissatisfied with their limited power in regard to taxa- 
tion and otherwise, and efforts were from time to time made 
to expand their authority. On the 5th March, 1855, the 
Council resolved that " the boundaries of this Borough for the 
purpose of the * Town's Improvement Act, 1854,' be extended to 
the existing Parliamentary boundaries, " and preliminary steps 
were taken to have the Act brought into force. In June appli- 
cation was made to the Lord Lieutenant for his consent, which 
after some deliberation was refused on account of the increased 
area sought to be included solely for the purpose of extra 
taxation ; and several attempts that were made to resuscitate the 
scheme failed. A few of the Town Councillors resolved not to 
let drop the subject of extending the powers of the Corporation. 
The West Ward was contested by their nominees and seats were 
secured on the Town Council. "A bill for the Improvement of 
the Borough of Sligo " was drafted by Messrs. Kernaghan and 
Saunders, by instructions from some members of the Corporation 
in their private capacity, and it was suddenly presented to a 
meeting of the Town Council ; very animated debates ensued, 
and at a meeting held 13th November, 1867, it was finally 
decided to proceed with the Bill, after some changes had been 
made in the draft. The Corporation seal was affixed to it in 
December, but it was not till May of the following year that 
Messrs. Kernaghan and Saunders were formally appointed 
solicitors for the passing of the Bill. As this proposed legis- 
lation would remodel and otherwise change the constitution of 
the Town and Harbour Commissioners, comparatively few of 
that body were in favour of it. 

On hearing, before a Committee of the House of Commons 
in 1867, the preamble was by them declared not proved ; they 
judged it then to be what it really was a mere legal specula- 
tion. In the following year, 1868, it was again introduced and 



was passed by the Commons, but thrown out by the Lords for 
financial reasons. In Sligo, the Bill was not regarded as a party 
question ; of the 427 voters and persons who signed the petition 
against the measure, more than half were Liberals, the remain- 
der Conservatives ; in the fight, all party ties were for the time 
dissolved, and every one "fought for his own hand." Fortunately 
for the promoters, the Grand Jury of the County, after securing 
the interests of the ratepayers, did not oppose the Bill; the points 
of difference were amicably arranged ; the Grand Jury waived 
their demand that population should be the basis of payment, 
and accepted instead the calculation based on valuation. This 
came to about one-twelfth of the valuation of the entire county ; 
though with regard to the inmates of Public Institutions such as 
the Gaol, Fever Hospital, Workhouse, &c., the proportion of 
numbers stood at 26, 30, and some as high as 60 or 70 per cent. 
The statement of the expenditure on the Borough during 
nine years by the Grand Jury of the County will demonstrate 
conclusively that the latter body, during this period, expended 
on the town a much larger annual sum than it was propor- 
tionately entitled to. It was presented to the committee of the 
House of Lords, by the County Surveyor, Noblett St. Leger, 
who was called as a witness by the promoters of the bill : 


and repair of 



New Foot- 
paths, Bridges, 
Walls, &c. 



s. d. 

s. d. 
1208 9 3 

*. d. 
11 18 

s. d. 
27 18 

*. d. 
1248 5 3 


30 19 

30 18 

99 8 

160 5 


753 1 5 

239 5 

86 2 6 

1078 8 11 


829 13 10 




1460 13 10 


810 4 7 

243 10 9 

170 16 

102 4 8 

1326 16 


728 15 4 


136 19 

950 14 4 


687 19 10 

7 10 

695 9 10 


747 6 8 

52 10 


840 16 8 


827 19 11 

469 12 


1329 11 11 


This outlay was at the rate of somewhat over 1000 per 

After having been five times before the House, the Bill was 
finally passed in 1869 ; the taxed costs of the measure were 
enormous, 4750. The Corporation had to pay two-thirds, 
and the Harbour Commissioners one-third of the expenses of 
promoting the Bill. 

Some of the more important changes brought about by this 
Act may be briefly noticed. The body constituted under the 
Town and Harbour Act of 1803, and known as the Town and 
Harbour Commissioners, was dissolved ; the powers of the Town 
Commissioners were vested in the Corporation, and a new body 
of Harbour Commissioners, having power to deal with the Port 
and Harbour, was incorporated. The Corporation obtained 
power to construct waterworks and supply water ; also to 
acquire by purchase the gasworks and to supply gas. 

The Borough, as defined for municipal purposes, had been 
less extensive than as defined for Parliamentary purposes; 
but this Act extended the boundaries of the municipal to the 
limits of the Parliamentary Borough, and the jurisdiction of 
Justices of the Peace for the Borough was also extended to the 
new limits. 

The Mayor is ex-officio an associated cesspayer for the 
Barony of Carbury, and has the same rights and privileges as a 
Justice of the Peace for the County at Presentment Sessions ; 
but he has no status on the Grand Jury for the County ; the 
Mayor for the time being, was called on the panel in 1868, and 
the custom has, in courtesy, since been continued. 

The entire liability for the construction, repair, and main- 
tenance of roads and bridges in the Borough was imposed 
exclusively on property within its bounds, and such property 
was in turn relieved from payment of County Cess for con- 
struction or maintenance of roads (except mail coach-roads) 
or bridges, &c., outside the Borough. The contribution of the 
Borough towards the amount to be presented by the Grand Jury 
for the County, for County- at-Large charges, is now proportioned 
to the valuation of property in the Borough, as compared to the 


valuation of property in the County. This contribution is made 
a first charge on the Borough rate, and if the Corporation should 
fail to pay, the Grand Jury has power to levy the amount. 

Power was conferred on the Corporation to establish mar- 
kets, fairs, and slaughter houses ; to purchase all existing rights 
of holding markets or fairs in the Borough, or levying tolls ; to 
make by-laws and regulations relating to these ; to prohibit the 
holding of any unauthorized market or fair, or the hawking or 
displaying of animals, provisions, or merchandize, except in 
the places set apart for that object. 

The Corporation obtained power to assess and levy rates 
within the Borough, and, for the purposes of the Act, to bor- 
row money to an amount not exceeding 50,000. They were 
subsequently permitted (without any special Act) to raise a sum 
largely in excess of that authorized by Act of Parliament. 

In 1885 there was an overdraft of some 7236 due to the 
Provincial Bank, and in 1886 a loan of 5000 was obtained 
from the Board of Works, on the ground of the proved neces- 
sity of the expenditure for proper completion of the waterworks, 
and with the expectation (which has been realized) that the 
increasing revenue from sales of water to public institutions, 
and for trade purposes, &c., would justify the advance. In 
1887 the total debt amounted to the large sum of 59,994, 
but is now (1891) reduced to 54,559. A tabular statement 
is given in Appendix Gr. 

The Corporation have authority to provide a fire brigade, 
fire engines, &c., to erect artizans' dwellings, and to regulate 
the Borough funds and rates. A number of Public Acts are 
incorporated with the local Act, for the purpose of enabling the 
ruling body more effectually to carry out the provisions of the 

The powers conferred by the local Act of 1869, for the con- 
struction of waterworks and the purchase of market rights, 
having expired before they were exercised, it became necessary 
to obtain a revival and extension of these powers, and accord- 
ingly another Act was passed on 2nd August, 1880, styled " The 
Sligo Borough Improvement (Eevival of Powers) Act, 1880," 



In conclusion, it may be well to give a brief account of the 
valuation of the Borough, of the origin and growth of the 
secured debt of the Corporation, and of the steps taken for its 

It is difficult to ascertain the exact number of houses formerly 
within the Parliamentary boundary, owing to confusion between 
it and the municipal boundary. In 1812 "Wakefield computed 
that there were 1150 houses within the municipal boundary; 
in 1831 there were 2667; in 1841, 2183; in 1871 there were 
but 2099 houses. According to a decision of the Court of 
Common Pleas, in 1873, owners are not liable for the rates on 
vacant premises. 

The total valuation of houses within the Borough, in 1795, 
amounted to 5854; in 1800, to T383; whilst the average 
valuation of the Parliamentary area of the Borough for nine 
years prior to its separate organization was about 17,540. 
The area (including water) of the extended boundary is 
3001 A. IR. 2 p. ; the older municipal area had comprised about 
417 acres (see fig. 11). 

At the Summer Assizes, 1870, the valuation of the entire 
Borough was 17,727 17s. ; in 1875, 18,010 13s. ; in 1880, 
18,250 4s. ; in 1885, 19,019 2s.; in 1890, 19,316 2s. 

The Municipal Reform Act of 1842 entailed considerable 
expense on the Corporation, as the necessity for dividing the 
Borough into wards involved heavy legal charges. In 1858 the 
debt was 450 ; in 1860 it amounted to 1045. In 1844 the 
accounts appear to have been for the first time published in the 
newspapers ; and the same year, owing to the embarrassed state 
of the corporate fund, the salaries of all the officers were reduced 
50 per cent.: this resolution was, however, quickly rescinded. 
On the passing of the Sligo Borough Improvement Bill, the 
arrears of Mayors' salaries amounted to about 530, and the total 
debt to a little more than 1264. The account, which may be 
seen in Appendix (G-, 1, 2, 3, 4), is Self-explanatory ; almost all the 
debt incurred, with the exception of the sum expended in procur- 
ing the Borough Improvement Bill, is self-supporting, and by 
means of the sinking fund has been considerably reduced. It 

[To face page 116, 


(Scale, about one inch to one mile.) 


would be a great boon if tbere were an Imperial Act, giving 
facilities to corporations to consolidate their liabilities in one 
loan to be paid back to the Exchequer by yearly instalments, 
which, at a moderate rate of interest, would, after a stated period, 
pay off the entire debt. 

A description of the maces, Mayor's chain, and other official 
insignia, together with an account of the various seals of the 
Corporation and of the Town and Harbour Commissioners, will 
doubtless be of interest. 

The two maces are fac- similes, and were presented by Samuel 
Walton, who for some years represented the Borough in Parlia- 
ment. The two Sergeants of the Mace were, according to the 
Charter, officers of the old Corporation. In 1819 William 
Meyrick was admitted a freeman of the Borough before being 
appointed to the post, whilst on the 29th September, 1823, 
Richard Meyrick and Robert Carey were Sergeants of the Mace, 
and so continued until the Municipal Reform Act of 1842, when 
they, as provided by the Act, each received an annuity from 
the new body. The maces remained in possession of Mr. Wynne, 
as Patron of the Borough, until the year 1846, when " The 
unanimous thanks of the Council were returned to John Wynne, 
Esquire, for returning the maces to the Corporation." 

These civic maces each weigh about 30 oz. No maker's stamp 
appears on them, although on the three parts which unscrew 
there are Irish hall-marks, and the date letter for 1702-3. 

Mr. Robert Day, F.S. A an authority on such work kindly 
examined one of the maces (see fig. 12), and furnished the fol- 
lowing description : " It is 18 inches long ; the end or handle 
part is fluted and globular, and terminates in the stud of an iron 
screw, which passes through, and serves to strengthen the shaft. 
The diameter of the shaft is If inch, and midway in its length it 
is divided into two parts, and strengthened by a heavy collar, on 
which is an ornamental ribbing, from which, on both sides, 
spring a chaplet of oak-leaves, corresponding with a similar 
engraved and chased ornament above the handle-part; and 
again, immediately below the mace-head, which is bowl- shaped, 
10 inches in diameter, and divided into four oval spaces, each 


bearing, in bold relief and well-chased work, the emblems of 
England, France, Scotland, and Ireland, i.e. the rose, fleur-de-lis, 
thistle, and harp, all regularly crowned within chaplets of oak- 
leaves. The spaces between these oval wreaths are filled in with 
leaf-designs similar to, and in perfect keeping with, the orna- 
ments upon the handle. The head of the mace is surmounted 
with an open-work pattern, like an engrailed line in heraldry, 
each point having a ball-termination. Within the space enclosed 
by this circle are the Royal Arms, with the initials of Queen 
Anne, A. n., and at either side fleur-de-lis, all in remarkably 
fine bold repomst and chased work." 

The following inscription is upon the base of the mace-head : 


A Sergeant of the Mace, before entering on his duties, took 
the following oath: 

" YOTT, and either of you, shall swear you well and truly shall 
serve the Provost and Burgesses of this town, in the office of Sergeant- 
ship, and as sergeants of this town for and during the space of one 
whole year now next coming. You shall well and truly serve, do, 
and execute all and all manner of precepts, warrants and command- 
ments to you, or any, or either of you, to be lawfully given and 
directed, touching or concerning any matter, cause, or process to he 
moved, had, or depending within the town or Corporation according 
to the liberties thereof, or at large, and shall make due returns and 
answers thereunto, and make certificate thereof according to the effect 
of such precepts, warrants, and commandments, taking these for your 
ordinary fees, and none other. And also you shall diligently give 
attendance unto the Provost and Free Burgesses, and wait on him and 
them, as hath heen accustomed, and as you ought to do, and his and 
their commandments and messages, truly to do and say, and not alter 
the same, so that it may he prejudicial or hurtful unto the said 
Provost, or any other, and likewise you shall give attendance, and be 
aiding and assisting unto the constables of this town in any thing that 
they, or either of them, shall reasonably and lawfully command or 
will you to do. And you shall diligently and truly do all other things 
appertaining to your office to the utmost of your power." 

The Provosts of Sligo probably wore a chain, for old people 
narrate that they were accustomed on state occasions to carry on 

[To face page 11 


This represents the best-preserved specimen. The second is a fac-simile 
(scale, one-fourth real size). 


the breast some badge or mark of their office. The chain now 
pertaining to the Mayoralty of the Borough (see fig. 13) dates 
from 1882, in which year it was constructed by Messrs. Nelson, 
Brothers, Sligo. It is of 18-carat gold, Hall-marked on every 
link. It consists of 18 shields joined together by double cable- 
links with an intermediate link-lozenge. Each shield is sur- 
mounted by a shamrock ; the obverse bears the crest and arms, 
and the reverse the name and year of office of each Mayor who 
has had the privilege of adding a link. The centre link 
somewhat larger than the others is backed by two Irish Harps 
from which droop shamrocks, the whole being surmounted by a 
royal crown picked out in crimson, green and ermine enamel. 
This link is appropriated to the donor, with whom the idea of 
providing a chain for the successive chief magistrates of the 
Borough originated, and who contributed 80 towards the 
expense. The chain weighs 15 J ounces. 

From the centre link hangs a pendant of fine gold weighing 
4 ounces; it is circular in form and is surmounted by a wreath 
of shamrocks, fastened at the base by a riband and knot of 
crimson enamel. Rising from the top are two Irish wolf-hounds 
at gaze, and between them is suspended a spray of shamrocks. 
On the front of the medallion, beautifully worked in variegated 
enamel are the present arms of the Borough, and on the circle 
outside, CORPORATION OF SLIGO, 1612. The inscription on the 
reverse of the medallion runs thus: PRESENTED PRINCIPALLY 
MAYORS. The following is a list of the ex-mayors who each 
contributed a link to the chain : Daniel M'Gill, John M'Growan, 
John McCarthy, Robert Hunter, Charles Sedley, "William A. 
Woods, James Tighe, Alexander Grillmor, James Kidd, Charles 
Anderson, Maurice Conry, Robert Crawford, James Nelson, 
John Walsh, Stephen M. Cherry, Bernard Collery. 

It was originally intended that each subsequent Mayor 
should add a link to the chain, but this idea never having been 
carried out, it remains in exactly the same condition as when it 
left the maker's hands. 

In former times the Provost and Burgesses were accustomed 


to attend Divine Service in their official capacity, and a pew was 
allotted to them in the Parish Church. This pew was distin- 
guished by an elaborately painted lozenge-shaped representation 
of the generally received arms of the Corporation; after the 
disestablishment of the Irish Church, the Eector of St. John's 
presented this escutcheon to the Council, and it now hangs in the 
Town Hall. 

The first deed of incorporation of the Borough grants to the 
Provost and Corporation a common seal, in the terms following : 
"AND further we will, and by these presents for us our heirs and 
successors, WE do grant to the said Provost, Free Burgesses, and 
Commonalty of the said Borough and their successors for ever, 
that they have a Guild of Merchants within the said Borough, and 
one common seal of such form and graven device as to them 
shall seem best, for serving the business of the said borough for 
ever." This proviso gave the Corporation a wide discretion as to 
any subsequent alteration of the seal. 

The earliest books of the Corporation are missing, but the 
first known seal may be noticed. This bears the date 1709, 
and it is evidently not a hare that is thereon represented, but 
rather a species of deer or antelope, having its 
dexter fore foot lifted and the other resting on 
a piece of rock which in shape somewhat re- 
sembles a barret-cap. Around is the legend 
BUROGH OF SLIGOE, the beginning and end being 
marked by a dividing ornament, below which are FlG - J 4- 

the letters A.R., i.e. Anne Regina, and the date tioJ fsiigo of p ioV- 
1709. Underneath appear the letters P.I.B., 
i.e. PROVOST JAMES BENNETT, who died that year (see fig. 14). 

The next seal, that of 1723 (see fig. 15), deserves special notice 
as it would seem to have been struck to commemorate the event 
of the Wynne family becoming Patrons of the Borough. On 
it the same arms appear, but more rudely sculptured, and above 
are the letters P.M.K. i.e. Provost Mitchelburn Knox, with the 
date 1723. Around is the legend BOROUGH OF SLIGOE, and en- 
circling this are thirteen groups of dual letters, which represent 
the initials of the Provost and 12 burgesses of the Corporation : 

[To face page 120. 


(i6"byi3" scale, about one-fourth real size.) 



M.K., Mitchelburn Knox; G.O., George Ormsby; i.i., John 
Jameson ; o. w., Owen Wynne; i.w., John Wynne; i. F., John 
ffolliott; w. o., William Ormsby; R. G., Richard Gore; A. G., 
Arthur Gore; w. s., William Smith; T. i., Thomas Jennings; 
i. B., John Booth; o. w., Owen Wynne, Junior. 

FIG. 15. Seal of the Corporation of Sligo, 1723. (Full size.) 

The last time this seal was used would seem to be the 9th 
September, 1774. 

To inhabitants of Sligo accustomed to the present armorial 
bearings of the Corporation, it may seem like heresy to throw 
even a doubt on the legend which narrates how a hare, intuitively 
divining that Drumcliff was doomed to decadence, set out one fine 
morning from that ancient town to take up its quarters in Sligo, 


FIG. 16. Newspaper device, used as a seal in the Corporation books of Sligo. 
(Full size.) 

but was overtaken by Nemesis. Being in a hurry, the hare trod 
accidentally on an open oyster; the bivalve resented the intrusion, 


and at once closed on the hind foot of poor puss. The pictures of 
the incident * however differ in details, for in the earlier represen- 
tation, the hare is passing a kind of semicircle of stones, and 
on an old map of Sligo made in 1766, there is depicted, on the 
space marked as representing the lane near the present Presby- 
terian Church, a singular group marked " Sligo Stones"; in the 
applotment hook of 1783 they are again mentioned, "Back-lane 
up to Sligo Stones." As time advanced the stones turn into oyster 
shells, the green sward into a strand, then comes a stream 
in the foreground, and finally a square fortalice. The compara- 
tively new device first appears on the 28th January, 1775 (see 
fig. 16), and any one who carefully examines the Corporation 
books can perceive that from that date up to the 5th September, 
1783, this so-called seal is merely the ornamental device that had 
originally headed the local newspaper, from which it was cut 
off and then wafered on to the leaf of the Corporation book, the 
printing on the reverse being distinctly observable. In 1778 the 

FIG. 17. Newspaper device used FIG. 18. Small seal used by 

as a seal by the Corporation the Corporation of Sligo, 

of Sligo. (Full size.) 1806-1810. (Full size.) 

same seal occurs, but minus the outer rim (see fig. 17). On the 
29th September, 1783, the newspaper heading ceased to be used, 
and the seal simply a copy of the newspaper device was 
struck and used by the Corporation until the Borough Improve- 
ment Bill of 1869. A seal bearing the same device, but of 
considerably less size, was used contemporaneously, i.e. from 
1806 to 1810 (see fig. 18). 

The seal at present in use (see fig. 19) cannot be admired for 
either its artistic or heraldic arrangement. On it is depicted a 
hare, apparently escaping from a round-tower which is repre- 



sented as having a door level with the ground. The tower has 
increased in size ; the tree has grown higher and stronger ; the 
animal alone has deteriorated. The augmentation, i.e. inscription 

FIG. 19. Seal at present used by the Corporation of Sligo. (Full size.) 

" SLIGO BOROUGH IMPROVEMENT ACT, 1869, is in smaller type 
than, and is placed within, the old legend. On the frontal 
page of this book may be observed the arms of Sligo, as depicted 
in an engraving which was attached to the books of the old 
library of Sligo ; the edifice seen in the distance was evidently 
intended to represent the Castle of Sligo. 

The origin of the present seal is as follows : On the 2nd 
January, 1871, it was resolved by the Council " that the Finance 
and Works Committee be directed to procure a seal and lever for 
the Corporation, not capable of being opened save by three keys, 
and that when procured, one key shall remain in possession of 
the Mayor, a second key in possession of the ex-Mayor, and the 
third in possession of the town clerk for the time being for 
use as ordered by the Council from time to time." 1 On the 3rd 
April of same year a resolution was passed discontinuing the 
use of the seal adopted in 1783. 

The seal (see fig. 20) formerly in use by the Town and Har- 
bour Commissioners represented the old bridge of Sligo, which 
spanned the river close to the site of the present Victoria Bridge. 

i The first and second keys are now in possession of the Mayor for the 
time being. 


" The Bridge of Sligo " is mentioned in the Four Masters so 
early as 1188, "but it is unlikely that much, if any, of the original 
structure remained in 1800 or .1803 the date of the formation 
of the body to which this seal belonged. It is to be noticed 
that the entrance to the bridge, to the left of the engraving, is 
overbuilt with houses ; and in a report of the year 1827 it is stated 
that " the east end of the old bridge had been greatly narrowed 
and the passage into the adjoining streets confined in such a 

FIG. 20. First Seal of the Town and Harbour Commissioners. (Full size.) 

way as to make it dangerous for two carriages to pass each 
other by houses built on the bridge, and close to the end 
of it." 

In the distance is evidently the old Abbey with the western 
face of the edifice represented as if perfect ; close to the fore- 
ground there is a small boat. Around runs the legend, CORPO- 

again encircled with what appears to be a chain of lilies, bearing 
a strong resemblance to the ornamentation on the Collooney 
medal, and which therefore seems to point to Brush as having 
been the designer. 

The seal now used by the Harbour Commissioners (see fig. 21) 
was struck in 1869, at the time of the reconstruction of that 
body, and is stated to have been designed and executed by 
Woodhouse. In the distance is seen Knocknarea and the 



ireragh mountains, with Oyster Island and its two lighthouses ; 
in the middle distance is a steamer, and in the foreground the 

FIG. 21. Seal now in use by the Harbour Commissioners. (Full size.) 

Blackroek lighthouse ; around is the inscription, SLIGO HARBOUR 


These dies with the exception of the one struck in 1709, 
which was intended for pressing on wax, and those struck in 1869 
and 1871, which form emhossed impressions were made so as 
to imprint the device on the paper after having been held over 
smoke from the flame of a candle a style of stamp which may 
even yet be seen occasionally. 



HE beauty of the environs of Sligo is very striking, 
but the town itself lies in a hollow, through which 
glides the river that leaves Lough Gill as a broad 
stream, and so continues, until it reaches Buckley's 
Ford ; from thence it narrows and becomes more rapid, 
falling some 20 feet between that spot and the tide-way. 
The river divides the town into two unequal parts, that 
on the southern bank being the more considerable. The best 
point for observation is the Green Fort, from whence a pano- 
ramic view, not alone of the town, but of its surroundings, is 
obtainable. The glacis around the old entrenchment is smooth as 
in days of yore, when it was styled Rath-da-brittog, or Britton's 
Fort, or when in after years it was in the possession of Sir 
Teigue O'Eegan. The ground slopes down in an uninterrupted 
lawn-like declivity, which on three sides is terminated by 
ever-encroaching buildings, whilst northward it joins the open 
country. Close at hand are situated the Workhouse and the 
Lunatic Asylum, backed by the heights of Killogaboy, Cope's 
Mountain, and the Ben Bulben range ; in the dim distance 
the outline of the Donegal Highlands appears over Knocklane, 
Eaughly, and Bosses Point ; below are seen the channel, inner 
bay, and harbour. To the west and ^south, Knocknarea and 
the Tireragh range close in the view ; at foot, the entire 
town of Sligo lies spread out. Its large public buildings the 
Town Hall, Eailway Terminus, Cathedral, Presbytery, Col- 
legiate Buildings, Friary, Courthouse, and Calry Church rise 
prominent from amongst the monotonous mass of slated houses. 
To the south-east and east are the heights of Cairns and 

[To face page 126. 


X 00 

2 o 

H * 

CM *0 

O bfi 

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Belvoir, with the Slieve-da-en and Slish range in the back- 
ground ; in the foreground the river may be observed issuing 
from the lake, glimpses of which are visible amidst its wood- 
clad shores, whilst beyond can be seen the distant Leitrim 
Mountains. Beside us are the Infirmary and Fever Hospital ; 
and on the opposite bank of the river, the Gaol. A bird's-eye 
view of the town, as seen from the tower of Calry Church, is 
given in the Frontispiece. 

Sligo, in olden days, did not present an imposing appear- 
ance. With the exception of the ruins of the Abbey, St. John's 
Church, and some quaint old houses which stand in and near 
it, the town may be said to have been but an agglomeration of 
thatched dwellings. A good idea of the general aspect of the 
town in 1818, as viewed from the sea, is conveyed by the illus- 
tration (fig. 22) reproduced from an engraving of that date. The 
houses were, in general, but one or two storeys in height, the 
windows small, the streets narrow and tortuous, being only 
intended for foot passengers and pack animals. Merchandize was 
then transported exclusively on the backs of horses or donkeys 
(for almost every leading thoroughfare has been widened within 
living memory). To add to "the general inconvenience of 
passers-by, the small dealers displayed their goods in stalls 
alongside the streets, whilst pedlars moved about everywhere 
essaying to dispose of their wares. The drainage was carried 
off by surface gutters, which did not add to the salubrity of the 
atmosphere, though they were in some instances flushed by small 

In 1802 Sligo was described as consisting of about seven or 
eight streets " composed of tolerably decent houses, some very 
good." The town was considered " rather unclean and un- 
healthy," but it was " of no small importance in the general 
export and import trade." Frazer, writing of Sligo at a later 
period, states, that " the streets in the older parts of the town 
were narrow, dirty, ill-paved, and badly suited to the bustle of 
an export trade ; it had nevertheless much more the appearance 
of a business place than any other town in Connaught, a cir- 
cumstance wholly owing to the spirit and enterprise of its 


traders." On this point Inglis, in the year 1834, remarked that 
the town had the look of a place of some consequence. The 
retail trade was very extensive, and without a due consideration 
of its geographical situation one might feel surprise at the very 
extensive warehouses ; but the neighbourhood was populous, 
and there was no town of any note westward, nearer than 
Ballina ; eastward, nearer than Enniskillen ; northward, nearer 
than Ballyshannon, and southward, nearer than Boyle. 

THE ABBEY has been already fully described, but the illus- 
tration (fig. 23) may be of interest ; it is from a photograph of 
the building taken before the carrying out of the restorations 1 
lately undertaken "by the Hon. Evelyn Ashley. On the 27th 
September, 1883, a letter was received by the Corporation from 
him, as well as one from the Secretary of the Board of Works, 
desiring to have the abbey placed under the provisions of the 
" Ancient Monuments Protection Act;" but although the Cor- 
poration wished to obtain for it all the benefits of this Act, 
they would not close it against interments, and thus rendered 
restoration impossible. A Mayor of Sligo stated that, previous 
to the opening of the public cemetery, the abbey ground was in 
even a worse state than it is at present. " With my own eyes," 
said he, " I saw in it human skulls to the number of some 600 
or 800 piled up in one place." This was no new state of things, 
for Beranger, who visited the abbey in the 18th century, greatly 
admired its architecture, but noticed the disgraceful state of 
neglect in which the burial-place was left, the altar being 
covered with bones, skulls, &c., in such quantities that they 
would have furnished " a cargo for a small vessel." In later 
times, in one locality on the western littoral, it is asserted as a 
positive fact by the country people, that the captain of a small 
trading vessel, one moonlight night, had all the bones lying 
about a church near which his ship was anchored, and which 
amounted to several tons, carried on board, and at once sailed 

1 There is one rather mythical benefactor of the monastery Pierce 
O'Timony, who is by various writers alleged to have restored or endowed the 
establishment. As a small return for his muniticence the monks erected a 
statue to his memory, which De Burgo states he saw in the cloisters. 

\Tofaeepage 128. 


for England, and sold them to be ground up for bone 

The Irish branch of the Order of St. Dominic and its 
patrons, in the 13th century, appear to have cherished a pecu- 
liar veneration for the cross, most of their convents founded 
during that period being dedicated to the " Holy Cross." The 
Sligo cloisters afforded accommodation for twenty friars ; there 
were also study and lecture halls, to which the youth of the 
surrounding country flocked, and in which the novices of the 
order and candidates for the priesthood were instructed in 
theology. The gardens of the abbey extended to the water's 
edge ; the building itself and its inmates were subjected to 
many vicissitudes from the period of the accession of Elizabeth 
to the close of the revolution of 1688 ; it was not, however, 
until 1698 that the friars were expelled from its walls ; l they 
soon after returned to the abbey, repaired the chancel roof, and 
built temporary shelter near the rood-screen. 

Despite the presence of the members of the Dominican Order, 
the fabric of the old abbey was not secure from the attacks of 
Yandal speculators, who proceeded to utilize it as a quarry. 
The chief offender in regard to these dilapidations was a mer- 
chant named Corkran, by whom "The Mall" at the river-side 
was built, and after whom it was named. Father Laurence 
Connellan succeeded at last in arresting his destructive hand. 
According to a MS. on this subject the spoliation did not bring 
good luck to its author, as Mr. Corkran's ultimate fate was 
rather peculiar. He was wealthy, proud, and pompous ; one night, 

1 Father Patrick M'Donogh, who was thus forced to leave Sligo, has left 
a long description of the goods and chattels then belonging to the Convent. 
By this it appears that in former years Father Theodorus Conelhad left a sum 
of 300 for the use of the friars, settled in trust on Mr. Nicholas French of 
Abbert, in the County Gal way, and with it he purchased land. In the reign, of 
James II., 50 of the principal was spent in repairing parts of the fabric, 
but "sence y e heate of y e warrs of Ireland" the friars "did nott receive 
a peny" of their rents, whilst one of their trustees " Mr. Coll. Keogh" 
appropriated to his own use part of the trust money in fact the friars lost 
everything save " their chalices and ornaments." The only remains of 
ancient silver now in the Friary are four chalices, bearing the dates 1636, 
1716, 1718, and 1732. 



having accompanied his wife to the theatre, the lady's anger 
became in some way excited to such a degree that she lifted her 
hand and struck him in the face publicly. As soon as possible 
Mr. Corkran vindicated his outraged dignity by selling off his 
property, absconding to America, and deserting the lady who 
had so deeply offended him. 

It was in 1760 that the before-mentioned Father Laurence 
Connellan, who had been for some time Regitis Primarim of 
studies in the Irish Dominican College of Louvain, returned to 
Sligo, and saw the necessity of vacating the crumbling abbey 
and securing a more suitable situation ; in 1783 he obtained a 
lease from Mr. James Hart of " all that and those the upper 
floor of a house on the east side of High-street," to which place 
he removed. 

1803 by Father Thomas Brennan, and was placed under the 
superintendence of a prior and two clergymen. 

The present Church of Holy Cross (commonly known as 
the Friary Church) is in High-street, and was erected about 
the year 1846, from the design of the late Sir John Benson. 
It was consecrated on the Feast of the Epiphany in 1848, 
but the belfry was not completed until 1859 (fig. 24). Un- 
fortunately the building is so closed in by the neighbouring 
shops and houses that no good view can be obtained of its 
proportions. It consists of a tower, porch, nave, and chancel. 
The tower is a handsome structure of limestone, having two 
buttresses in each face, at the angles. The east doorway in the 
tower has a low ope, with slender shafts in recesses in the jambs, 
surmounted by elaborately cut mouldings in the pointed circle. 
The two-light windows of the nave are lancet-headed. The 
east window in the chancel is a five-light window, the head of 
which is filled with elaborate tracery, and it contains fine 
stained glass. The roof nearly resembles, in some of its 
features, that of Westminster Hall. It consists of a large 
main arch, with smaller arches, principal rafters, purlins, 
hammer-beams, curved sheets, and wall-pieces, and inside it has 

[To face page 130. 



wrought timber sheeting. The wall- pieces spring from corbels 
having angels' heads carved on them. 

THE CATHEDRAL (fig. 25) was erected by the Eoman 
Catholics of Sligo, who had long felt that a large building for 
purposes of public worship was a desideratum. On Sunday, 
25th July, 1874, it was consecrated in presence of Cardinal 
Cullen and most of the Roman Catholic Bishops of Ireland, as 
also some from England and America, together with a, number 
of clergy of lower degree. 

The chief entrance door is under the tower, and on each side 
of the tower of the Cathedral are two turrets, through which 
run circular stone staircases. By this means entrance can be 
obtained to the galleries. These galleries are within the arches, 
and open on the nave in a series of half circles, producing a 
very good effect. The style of the building is a kind of com- 
bination of the Norman and Byzantine. The tower rises in the 
front-centre of the main gable. The principal entrance is 
within a noble arch, from which the tower rises, and it is 
surmounted by a series of alto-relievo figures in carved stone. 
The extreme length of the sacred edifice is 227 feet ; the width 
across the transept is 115 feet ; the nave is 33 feet wide, and 
the aisles 17 feet each. The height of the ceiling from the rich 
encaustic tile pavement is 62 feet. The aisles are divided from 
the nave by bays of bold arches sustained on finely-chiselled 
columns of black limestone, as also are the transepts and side- 
chapels. The galleries or to give them their architectural 
term, the triforium extend over each aisle, and 18 pillars on 
each side run up from ground floor to roof, those pillars 
dividing the nave from the aisle. 

The front of the high altar is divided into compartments by 
capitalled pillars of porphyry. In each of the three compart- 
ments are figures and emblems carved in Parian marble in full 
relief. The altar slab is also of white marble, moulded at the 
edges. At either side of the altar are four pillars of polished 
Aberdeen granite, hooped with gold, with elaborately carved 
foliated capitals. These pillars sustain a Baldichin dome of 



brass, in the form of spreading palm leaves. The tabernacle, 
reredos, and sanctuary railings are made to correspond. 

An organ loft is erected immediately over the front entrance. 
There are numerous stained glass windows, through which a 
fh'm and softened light enters. The smaller windows are of 
ordinary stained glass, with simple ecclesiastical designs, but all 
the larger ones are devoted to special religious subjects. The 
nave is lighted by ten windows (five on each side), filled 
with cathedral-tinted glass. In the tower, and at extreme 
heights opposite the high altar, are also some windows of a 
similar kind, but darker in the tints. 

It is computed that the cathedral holds 4000 people seated, 
and that it cost upwards of 50,000. In March, 1877, a peal 
of nine bells, the largest of which weighs twenty-six cwt., was 
presented by Peter O'Connor, of Sligo, and hung in the tower. 
The carillon machine, which is self-acting, is barrel-shaped, 
and by its workings no less than forty-five tunes can be played. 
There are seven barrels, of which three are for sacred, and four 
for secular music. 

The vestry adjoining the cathedral is built in corresponding 
style. Members of the St. Vincent de Paul Society here hold 
their weekly conference ; their labours are of benefit to the 
deserving poor of the town. 

It is curious that neither the Friary Church nor the Cathedral 
are built in accordance with the ancient and Catholic practice 
of " Orientation." 

The building of churches, with the chancel on the east, seems 
to have arisen from the desire that the congregation during 
prayer should face in that direction. Tertullian (c. 205), refers 
to the suspicions entertained by the heathen that Christians 
were sun-worshippers " because they were well known to turn 
to the east in prayer." The " Apostolic Constitutions," Clement 
of Alexandria, Basil, Augustine, and John of Damascus, all 
witness to this being the ordinary position for public prayer. 

Clement, of Alexandria, gives the mystical reason that the 
east is the image of the day of birth. Chrysostom finds in the 
practice a reference to Christ as " The Day-spring from on 

[To face page 132. 




High," " the Light of the World." Again, we are thus looking 
out for our Lord's return, who, " as He appeared in the East, 
and thence ascended into heaven, so will He appear again at 
the last day." It is, however, to be noticed that the symbolical 
idea at the root of the practice is not peculiar to Christianity, but 
is common to nearly all religions ; for, as the sun rises in the 
east, that point is naturally suggestive of the origin of life and 


There is abundant evidence that from very early times 
churches were generally placed thus, but many exceptions may 
be found. Socrates says of the church at Antioch, " it had its 
position inverted, for its altar looks not towards the east, but 
towards the west." 

The " Apostolic Constitutions " enjoin " And first let the 
house be oblong, turned towards the east, the postophoria 
(vestries) on either side towards the east." 

street, with a Preparatory School attached, was opened in 1880, 
chiefly for the education and training of ecclesiastical students. 
There is accommodation for about 50 resident students and 
about 150 day pupils. The building cost about 5000. 

A new College was found to be necessary to meet the 
increasing demands for admission of students, who will be pre- 
pared for the several professions, commercial pursuits, and public 
examinations. It is on a commanding position, above the 
presbytery, overlooking the town. The buildings cost upwards 
of 15,000. 

started in 1880. The course of instruction given in the evening 
classes is suited for shop-assistants, mechanics, and trade- 

THE SISTERS OF MERCY (St. Patrick's) first settled in Sligo 
June 30th, 1846. This new branch of the Institute was estab- 
lished in a small private residence in Greorge's-street, pending 
the erection of their present spacious convent. 

The first works in which the sisters engaged were visiting 


and caring the sick ; distributing daily alms to the famine- 
stricken sufferers of the years 1846-1847 ; and training orphan 
girls for domestic service. In these works of mercy they 
received kind co-operation and substantial aid from all classes 
and denominations. Later on, the Sisters were invited to 
attend upon the sufferers in the fever and cholera hospitals, 
where welcome and assistance were given them by the physicians 
then in attendance on the plague-stricken. 

When their new Convent was completed the sisters opened 
public schools on September 24th, 1849, and from that date the 
several works undertaken began to develop gradually. One 
wing of the new building was devoted to a Training School for 
teachers, an "orphanage, and a class in training for domestic 
service. In 1871 an Industrial School was opened, and the 
Cathedral being then completed, the old parish church and 
grounds were handed over to be appropriated to the orphans. 
St. Laurence's Industrial School, under the Act (31 Viet. 
c. 25), had, in 1888, 152 inmates; the total cost of main- 
tenance and management was 2439 8s. 7d., together with 
285 15s. 2d. for rent and interest. The actual industrial 
profit was 367 14s. Id., the net cost per head being 15 10s. 2d. 
In 1876 a handsome chapel was added to the west end of the 
Convent building. In 1880 the Sisters removed the extern 
schools to more spacious premises on the opposite side of the 
road. In the same year they built a bakery for the purpose 
of training their intern pupils and servants to that useful 
branch of domestic economy. A sewing school for extern girls 
was also set on foot. They are here taught various kinds of 
plain and fancy needlework, &c. In 1884 a large new public 
laundry was built on the Convent premises. In 1888 the 
accommodation being found insufficient, large new schools were 
erected. In 1890 the charge of the Albert-road Male Infant- 
School was handed over to the Sisters. The " Kindergarten 
System " has been adopted of late in the Infant-Schools, and 
is found attractive to the little children. Over 800 pupils 
now attend the extern schools, and 200 interns of all classes 
are under the constant care of the Sisters. 


THE URSULINE CONVENT of St. Joseph, Finisklin-road, was f- JouX 
built and occupied in 1850. The object of the foundation was (f ^^ ^ 
the education of young girls of various ranks of society. There <* > 
is a gratuitous school for the poorer class, supported by private 
contributions, also a day-school for children of the town, and a 
boarding-school for those who can afford to pay. The buildings 
cover a great extent of ground, and comprise dormitories, study, 
class-rooms, library, and chapel. 

THE PARISH CHURCH OF ST. JOHN'S was built in the form 
of a Celtic cross, the eastern limb being finished with a poly- 
gonal apse ; the ceiling, doubtless, was in the shape of a rather 
flattened dome ; the windows were topped with a semicircular 
arch, and a round arch led into the chancel. This can now be 
seen above the ceiling of the present chancel ; the old chancel 
was much shorter than the present one, and was lighted by 
windows, one in each side of the apse; the whole church 
was built of stone, quite unchiselled, and the roof rested on 
the walls, as in an ordinary dwelling-house. This edifice was 
almost entirely the work of a Mr. Castels who erected it on *^~ 
the site of the prior structure circa 1730. Pococke, in his 
tour in Ireland, in 1752pHiuB' UeHOrlbe'lr'St. John's : " The 
Church is the design of Mr. Castels ; it is in the form of a 
cross, with galleries at every end, except the east. The roof is 
a curious piece of work." 

It is stated that Castels (a German by birth) was at the com- 
mencement of the eighteenth century the leading architect in 
Ireland. He built Leinster House, in Dublin ; Carton ; the 
Eotunda ; the Dining-hall in T. C. D. ; in fact, he had more or 
less to do with all the great buildings erected from 1725 to 
1751 : he also designed Hazlewood House ; but the Church of 
St. John appears to have been almost the only one remodelled 
by him. Pococke states that it was the finest he met with in 
his tour. In 1773, a second row of galleries was erected for 
accommodation of the Charter-school children ; but the church 
underwent no important change until the year 1812, when it v 
was decided to transform it into a Gothic edifice.' The windows 



were taken out and rebuilt, as they now appear ; the polygonal 
apse was demolished, and the present chancel built "irTlls place, 
thoughT^trangely enough, it was. iill lately, only used as 
vestry-room. ( <M U*5VvKC4^^tOM W 

The repairing and enlargement of the fabric of St. John's, 
in 1812, cost the then enormous amount of 5059 6s. 11^., 
toward which the Board of First Fruits granted a loan of 1500. 
In 1883 1000 was spent in convertinsLJJlfLiestry-room intoj* 
clmncel, and in erecting a vestry-room, and organ- chamber ; l 
wnile tnese works were being carried on, the foundations of the 
polygonal apse which formed the original chancel were laid 
bare. Most of the church furniture is new, but some of the 
communion-plate bears the date 1722. 

A handsome stained-glass memorial representing " The 
Ascension " has been placed by the present rector in the east 
window, in memory of his mother ; another window is dedi- 
cated to the memory of the late Mrs. L'Estrange, of Kevinsf ort, 
by her many friends in the town: 1 anH county! A handsome 
pulpit, formed of Caen-stone and marble the carving excep- 
tionally good together with a memorial-brass, has been 
erected in memory of the late rector (the Rev. E. Day) by his 
widow : a prayer-desk to correspond bears the inscription : 
" To the glory of God, and in loving memory of Christopher 
Carleton L'Estrange and Charlotte Annie L'Estrange, erected 
by their children, 1890." 

The soil of the churchyard presents some peculiarities. 
There is little doubt that bodies 'buried in it do not decay in 
the ordinary manner, and adipocere in large quantities has 
often been noticed when the ground was opened for fresh 
interments. Adipocere is a soft, unctuous, or waxy substance, 
of a light -brown colour, into which the fat and /muscular fibre 
of bodies are converted by burial in soil of peculiar nature ; 
and this fact demonstrates that the earth possesses certain 
qualities which, combined with moisture, bring about the result. 

1 >t. John's, it is stated, was the first religious edifice in Sligo which could 
boast of an organ. This instrument is reputed to have been taken from the 
wreck of one of the galleons of the Spanish Armada. 


It is alleged that, by reason perhaps of chemicals in the soil, 
yews will not grow in the churchyard except in freshly- 
imported earth, that few, if any, worms burrow in the 
ground, and that rats do not frequent the place. Like most 
churchyards in the country, there are few tombs of any antiquity 
remaining, that of Sir Roger Jones being the oldest. One in- 
scription records the death of a man " who deceased being aged 
120 years," and here and there the beholder is startled by sight 
of the word " executed," in bold lettering ; but it relates, not 
to the manner of death of the occupant of the tomb, but to the 
self -advertising of 'the sculptor. A very common 18th century 
marine inscription, somewhat similar to that in the churchyard 
at Ballysadare, may be seen on the slab over the last resting- 
place of Captain James Hamilton, who died in 1766 : 

" Tho' Boreas' blasts and Neptune's waves 

Have toss'd me to and fro, 
In spite of both, by God's Decree, 

I harbour here below : 
And tho' at anchor here I lie 

With many of our Fleet, 
I must one Day set sail again 

Our Saviour Christ to meet." 

William Draper, of Sligo, who is buried in the churchyard 
of St. John's, in his will, dated December 3rd, 1719, ordered 
his executors and their representatives for ever to " pay unto 
three Protestant maid-servants of the Church of England as by 
law established, that shall live three years a-piece in their ser- 
vice in good repute and without spot or blemish, the sum of 6 
sterling to each of them as portion at the end of their said three 
years' service, and continue for ever to the like Protestant maid- 
servants, to be paid them by the like payment at the end of their 
said three years' service, such Protestant maid-servants to be 
avouched by their masters and mistresses before the minister 
of the Parish of St. John's aforesaid, and of my under-named 
executors." This bequest is still regularly administered, the 
qualification being residence within the Union of St. John's. 



It may be well to give a list of the rectors of St. John's, 1 as 
far as can be ascertained : 

"William Newport, 1635; William Eycroft, 1641; Cleremont 
Panham, D.D., 1666; John Wilkinson, 1681; Coote Ormsby (pre- 
viously Chaplain to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland), 1681; John 
Fountaneen, 1694; Eubule Ormsby, 1730; Manly Gore, 1771; 
WenslyBond, 1776; Charles Hamilton, 1822; Edward Day, 1846; 
A. M. Kearney, 1876, Archdeacon of Elphin, present rector. 

The old parish church had to provide accommodation for 
the parishioners of St. John's, and those of Calry, Killas- 
pugbrone, and Killmacowen the Union of these parishes was 
created about the year 1681, and afterwards broken up again. 
First Calry was detached, then Killaspugbrone was formed into 
the parish of Knocknarea. 

CALRY CHURCH (fig. 26) was completed in the year 1824 at 
a cost of 3000. On March 1st, 1817, the vestry of the Union 
of St. John's received a letter from the Bishop of Elphin, recom- 
mending the erection of a chapel of ease for the Union, owing to 
the increase of the Protestant population. This idea, after some 
debate, was ultimately adopted. The Board of First Fruits 
gave a free grant of 900 towards the expense of building the 
church and purchasing a site for it, and a glebe-house. The 
stone of which the church is built was quarried on the ground ; 
and this fact, to some extent, may explain the small cost of the 
erection of this edifice as compared with that of the alterations 
made in St. John's. Calry Church is a plain Gothic building, 
with a tower and spire ; it was consecrated in June, 1824. 2 

1 The curates of St John's were: Edward Nicholson, circa 1700; John 
Palmer, 1761 to 1766; James Armstronge, 1771 to 1800; Edward Coates, 
1801 ; H. Hunt, 1820; W. C. Armstronge, 1821 ; Hugh I.Hamilton, 1828 ; 
Hugh Murray and G. Crozier, 1830 ; J. E. Green, 1835 ; G. Montgomery, 
1840; Knox Homan and^Andrew Robinson, 1841; Samuel Shone, r847; 
Oliver. J. Tibeaudo. IhS?; Morgan W. Jellett ; John Dowden, 1864; 
W. A. Day, fp?; A. M. Kearney, 1868 ; J. A. French, 1877 ; Frederick 
Hamiltoiy*So ; Henry Mills, 1882 ; C. W. Darling, 1886. One of the 
uratej/)f St. John's became a Koman Catholic Priest, and by a strange 
coincidence one of the former curates of the Homan Catholic Cathedral 
became a Protestant. 

2 To all Persons to whom these presents shall come greeting Know ye 

[To face page 138. 


The following year a bell was placed in the steeple. The 
church, when roofed in, did not seem to offer sufficient accom- 
modation, and therefore an addition to the interior arrange- 
ments was made by the erection of a gallery, of which the extra 
cost was defrayed by disposal of the pews to subscribers for 
that purpose. 

Until the disestablishment of the Irish Church, the minister 
of Calry held the position of " Incumbent to the perpetual 
Care or Chapelry of Calry." The first appointment made was 
the Rev. William Armstrong, who during 18 years officiated 
in that church until his death on the 29th March, 1840, at 
the age of 46. 

To perpetuate the memory of one who had been so eminently 
useful in his clerical capacity, and so universally beloved by a 
large circle of friends, a meeting was held in the Vestry-room 
of St. John's Church on the 7th of April following, John Wynne, 
Esq., in the chair, when it was resolved : 

"That a subscriptiou be opened, in the first- place, to erect a 
simple Tablet to the memory of the late Rev. William Armstrong, in 
the Church of Calry, commemorative of his active, zealous, and constant 
exertions in that parish, for a number of years, and in the discharge of 
which he ultimately fell a sacrifice. 

" Secondly, that the surplus be appropriated for the purpose of 
educating two children at the school of l The Sons of the Clergy,* 
belonging to such clergymen resident in the County of Sligo, as may 
be approved by a committee hereafter to be named ; and that it be a 
request of the subscribers, to the widow of their late minister, to allow 

that we John, by divine permission Bishop of Elphin, on the thirteenth day 
of June in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and twenty- 
four, at the request of the Incumbent of the Union of St. John's, Sligo, and 
the minister of the perpetual cure of Calry (being a member of said Union) 
together with the Churchwardens and Protestant Parishioners of the Union 
of St. John's aforesaid, in the County of Sligo and our Diocese of Elphin, did 
consecrate in due form the Church of Calry Parish, by the name of Calry 

IN TESTIMONY whereof we have caused our Episcopal seal to be hereunto 
affixed this thirteenth day of June, in the year of our Lord one thousand 
eight hundred and twenty-four. 

CHARLES SMITH, Registrar. 
[Episcopal O Seal.] 


her sons to be first put in nomination. That the Fund bear the name 

In pursuance of the above resolution a body of twelve trustees 
was formed by whom the fund was to be administered. A 
trust deed was duly executed, and contributions were freely 
given for the objects of the trust. The first trustees were : 
The Bishop of Elphin ; E. J. Cooper, M.P.; James Wood; 
Eev. George Trulock ; Jemmett Duke ; Eichard Gethin ; Sir 
E. Gore-Booth, Bart. ; John Wynne ; C. K. O'Hara ; Eev. C. 
Hamilton ; Major Parke ; William C. Wood. 

The last-named acted as treasurer and secretary for several 
years, and by his exertions up to the date of his death in 1856 
the prosperity of the fund was mainly established. Sufficient 
money having been received, the trustees, after erection of a 
memorial tablet in Calry Church, invested the balance in the 
purchase of tithes and in other securities, from which an income 
is derived for the education of such sons of the clergy as are 
eligible for the benefits of the trust. The Eev. James Gully, 
Eector of St. Peter's, Athlone, undertook the charge of the fund 
on the death of W. C. Wood, and by him the finances were 
collected and disbursed, until failing health compelled him to 
resign the task. He was succeeded by the Eev. Thomas Heany, 
Incumbent of Calry, who after two years of management gave 
up the secretaryship, which was then handed over to the Eev. 
Canon F. Flood, by whom, since 1885, the trust has been and is 
still administered. By this fund about twenty sons of the 
clergy have been assisted in their education ; some of them are 
now in the ministry of the Church, and others are filling impor- 
tant positions in life; at present two sons of clergymen, who 
belong to the county, are deriving benefit from its annual grant. 
The amount of interest which of late years has been available 
is somewhat under 60, derived from nine holders of rent- 
charges, by whom yearly or half-yearly payments are punc- 
tually made. Any clergyman who is either a native of the 
county, or, who has served within its boundary, may, on the 
occurrence of a vacancy, apply for aid in educating his sons. 


According to the rules, no boy is eligible who is under eleven, 
and none is retained on the list after having reached eighteen 
years of age. cCcC * Qf 

The Eev. W. Arm^bng was succeeded in Calry by the Bev. 
Andrew Gillmor, EM^l, who remained until the year 1856, when 
he was promoted to fhf parish of Killenvoy ; the Eev. Samuel 
Shone succeeded him/and held the parish until 1866; he had 
been previously curaty in Eathlin Island from 1843 to 1846, and 
curate to St. John's, pligo, from 1847 to 1856. He was pro- 
moted from Calry to/ the parish of Urney, in the County Cavan, 
in 1878 was appointed Archdeacon of Kilmore, which position 
he held, together with the Eectory of Cavan, until the year 
1884, when he was consecrated Lord Bishop of Kilmore, Elphin, 
and Ardagh. He had been distinguished as a Hebrew Prize- 
man in his University career. 

From 1867 to 1871 the Eev. John 

of Calry. He had been Curate of St. John's, Sligo, from 1864 / 
to that year, 4nd was subsequently Curate of St. Stephen's, ' 
Dublin, from 1871 to 1874 ; Chaplain to the Lord Lieutenant, 
1870-1874 ; Pantonian Professor of Theology, and Bell Lecturer 
in Edinburgh Theological College, 1874-1887 ; Canon of Edin- 
burgh Cathedral, 1880-1887; Donnellan Lecturer, T.C.D., 
1884, and consecrated Bishop of Edinburgh 1886. He was 
succeeded in Calry by the Eev. Eobert M< Walter till 1876 ; 
the Eev. Matthew Magill was then appointed ; he survived 
but a short time, and after his death the Eev. Thomas Heany 
became incumbent in 1877. Mr. Heany had been curate 
of Clontibret 1869-1870; Enniscorthy, 1870-1873; Trinity 
Church, Dublin, 1873-1876; subsequently English Chaplain 
at Calais, 1887, and is now Eector of St. Stephen's Church, 
Hull. / In 1887 the Eev. J. Fleetwood Berry, B.D., was 
appointed incumbent; he had been curate of Christ Church, 
Kingstown, 1881-1883 ; Diocesan Curate to the Bishop of 
Meath (Lord Plunket), 1883-1884; senior curate of St. 
Matthias's Church, Dublin, 1884-1887, and is now Eector of St. 
Nicholas's, Gal way. 
/ The Eev. Llewelyn Paul T. Ledoux, appointed October, 


1890, is the present rector. He had a distinguished collegiate 
career: Trinity College, Dublin B.A. Honours (Respondent). 
Divinity School Archbishop King's Prize ; Downes' Prize for 
Essay ; Downes' Prize for Extempore Speaking ; 1st Class 
Divinity Testimonium (with 1st place Junior and Senior 
Exam.). Prizes for Ecclesiastical History, Sermon. Theo- 
logical Society President's (Regius Professor) Prize for Essay ; 
1st Oratory (Medal); 1st Essay (Medal). M. A. (Presented 
with address and fees for, by Lord Primate and members of 
Armagh Clerical Union) . 

In 1881 he was ordained Deacon; Priest, 1882; 1881, 
Curate Portadown (Diocese Armagh); 1883, Rector, Kilmore ; 
1888, Curate, Bray (Diocese Dublin) ; 1888, Incumbent, Kil- 
linchy (Diocese Down). 

A portion of the town of Sligo is included within Calry, 
the river separating it from St. John's parish. Some of the 
public institutions, the three Banks, the County Infirmary, the 
Fever Hospital, the Military Barracks, the Workhouse, and the 
District Lunatic Asylum, are situated in Calry. The incumbent 
is also chaplain of the troops, of the workhouse, and of the 
asylum. The parish extends along the northern shore of Lough 
Gill and joins the parishes of Drumahaire, Lurganboy, Drum- 
cliff, and Rosses Point. There are two Sunday-schools one 
held on Sunday morning at Calry school-house, with one hun- 
dred and eighty children in attendance, the other, in the after- 
noon, at Ballinorley, with thirty-three children. There are 
three daily schools all being under the National Board : (1) 
The Model School, (2) Calry National School ; (3) Ballinorley 
National School. The two latter are under the patronage and 
management of the incumbent. 

KNOCKNAREA CHURCH, near Strandhill. Despite the re- 
stricted area left to the Union of St. John's by detaching 
Calry, it was found necessary still further to curtail it, and the 
parish of Killaspugbrone was formed into a separate district. 
The idea of erecting a church in the vicinity of Strandhill 
appears to have been first mooted in 1835, but nothing was 


effected until 1840, when the project was taken up by Messrs. 
Phibbs, Walker, and Wood. Funds were collected for the 
building, and also for permanent endowment of the new parish, 
but it was three years before the picturesque little church (St. 
Anne's) was completed, as shown by the inscription over the 
entrance-door: IN HONOREM B. ANN^E DEO. 0. M. DEDICATA 
CERA PRIVATORUM coLLATO CEDiFiCATA, A.D. 1843. The interior 
is striking, the general appearance being enhanced by several 
windows of stained glass ; the glebe-house, however, was not 
erected until 1877. Although under the control of the Synod of 
the Church of Ireland, yet the appointment to the parish is vested 
in trustees. The income is small, about .140 a year, derived 
from a lay rent-charge, payable out of the parish of Kilshalvey, 
union of Boyle, and from other sources. The incumbents were ; 
Eev. James Gully, 1842; Kev. John W. Chambers, 1861: 
Eev. Charles Hans Hamilton, 1864 ; Eev. William A. Day, 
1867; Eev. Isaac Coulter, 1877; Eev. F. T. Hamilton, 1882; 
Eev. John (ralbraith, 1884 present incumbent. 

In 1811 the old church of Killaspugbrone was repaired by 
the vestry of St. John's, and in 1814 the graveyard was enclosed 
with a wall. The expense of erecting the neighbouring Eoman 
Catholic chapel was in great part defrayed by a church rate, 
for at an adjourned vestry meeting of the Union of St. John's, 
held 29th May, 1832, it was resolved 

" That although at the Vestry it cannot be legally imposed as a 
parish rate, yet that it is recommended to the several cess-payers of 
the Union to contribute at the rate of twopence per acre on the land, 
and one halfpenny per pound sterling on the value of the houses in 
Sligo, as a sum of money to be applied in assisting the expense of 
rebuilding the Eoman Catholic chapel of Wrensborough, in the parish 
of Killaspugbrone, and the churchwardens are hereby requested to 
direct the collector to receive a separate collection accordingly, to be 
appropriated by them for such purpose. 

"JoHN MARTIN, Churchwarden" 

THE PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH is first mentioned in a MS. 
in Dublin Castle, entitled " The Civil Establishment of the 


Commonwealth for Ireland, 1655," where amongst the allow- 
ances granted to ministers, there is one of 100 per annum to 
John Wilkinson, for Sligo, which was then included in the 
ecclesiastical " Precinct of Gal way. " 

The first Presbyterian minister of whom there is anything 
very definite known, was the Eev. Samuel Henry, who came 
from the Presbytery of Edinburgh in October, 1694, and in 
May, 1695, was ordained to the joint charge of " Sligo and 
Moywater," i.e. Ballina. In July, 1698, "Moywater" was 
separated from Sligo, which then became a distinct congrega- 
tion under his charge. He resigned in 1728. The next 
minister of whom there exists any record was the Eev. L. Ash 
(son of Capt. Ash, one of the defenders of Derry), who had 
received his college education in Edinburgh. The Presbytery 
of Letterkenny, which in 1717 was put in charge of the district, 
ordained him to the pastoral charge of the Sligo congregation 
in 1732. He died in 1742, and was succeeded by the Eev. H. 
Nesbitt, ordained by the Presbytery of Letterkenny, May 3, 
1756. In 1760 Ballymote was joined to Sligo. The Eev. H. 
Nesbitt died in 1778 ; his successor was the Eev. Joseph King, 
ordained by the Presbytery of Clogher, August 4, 1784 ; he 
resigned the charge, and was succeeded the same year by the 
Eev. Booth Caldwell, who died October 24th, 1810. The Eev. 
Jacob Scott was ordained to the joint charge of Sligo and Bally- 
mote, March 19th, 1811. 

In 1823 the Sligo congregation became a separate charge, 
their first minister being the Eev. James Heron, ordained 
March, 1824. Mr. Heron becoming infirm, the Eev. Moffatt 
Jackson was appointed as his assistant. Mr. Heron died at 
Eosses Point, July 28, 1860, and was succeeded by Mr. 
Jackson, who had been educated at the old Academical 
Institution, Belfast. He was one of the first batch of 
students who received the degree of M.A. in connexion with 
the Q,ueen's University. The energy displayed by the young 
minister was rewarded by the gradual growth of the congre- 
gation, alike in number and influence. It shortly began to 
show signs of increased vitality, and the history of the church 


has been one of progress and usefulness. He also established a 
mission-station at Drum. He died November 17th, 1887, and 
was succeeded by the present minister, the Eev. F. 0. Watters, 
M.A., inducted from the congregation of Kilrea, and installed 
in the charge of the Sligo congregation, May, 1888. 

The present Presbyterian place of worship in Church-lane? 
was, according to the inscription over the door, erected in the 
year 1828 ; and in 1833 a sum of 100 to aid in clearing off the 
debt due on it was voted by the Yestry of St. John's. The 
Manse, situated near the Presbytery and the new College, was 
built in 1867; the sexton's residence and a commodious lecture- 
hall in 1883. 

In the townland of Clogher (half barony of Coolavin) there 
is a small Presbyterian Church, Manse, and School, which were 
erected some forty years ago. There is a somewhat similar 
settlement near Ballymote ; and in 1833 the congregation was 
enabled to improve their place of worship by means of a grant 
from the Emlaghfad Yestry. 

tioned during the time of the Commonwealth, when it is 
alleged that a Puritan or Independent Minister resided for 
some years in Sligo, and preached in St. John's Church, but 
was " silenced upon the Eestoration in 1660." His following 
must have either dispersed or been merged in the Irish Church, 
for the sect remained without visible existence till the year 1773 
or 1780, when Andrew Maiben (a Scotch merchant engaged 
in the linen trade) settled in Sligo, and commenced a 
regular " Sabbath-day" service. Maiben was a Presbyterian, 
but on account of the then minister of his denomination 
holding and preaching doctrines of which he did not approve, 
he (Maiben) commenced a daily prayer meeting. Through 
this means a young man named Albert Blest was con- 
verted, and became an earnest supporter of and worker 
with Mr. Maiben, and these two alternately addressed the 
meeting. Thus was commenced the Independent Congrega- 
tion in Sligo, although neither of its founders held the views 
which are generally associated with the name Independent. 


The movement grew, and a minister being required, twenty- 
one probationers in connexion with the Synod of Ulster preached 
on trial without being accepted. Application was made to the 
"Seceders" for " supplies," and the Eev. J. Gibson was at 
length elected pastor. Mr. Gibson, however, did not remain 
long. Ministerial help was then sought from the Countess of 
Huntingdon in England, and from the Haldanes in Scotland. 
In 1791 a chapel was built, the undertaking being aided 
by Lady Huntingdon; it was styled "Union Chapel," and 
it seated about four hundred people. The first regularly 
appointed pastor was the Eev. Claudius Morrison, who was 
installed in 1800 or 1801 ; he continued his labours until his 
death in 1811. 

The next minister would appear to have been the after- 
wards well-known Dr. William Urwick, an Englishman, 
styled " the Little Giant," on account of his small stature 
but great abilities. His ministration in Sligo commenced 
June, 1816 ; he, however, had some experience of Irish 
missionary work through a previous visit to Sligo. A short 
sketch of the journey from his native place gives an insight 
into the times. He had to be ferried across the Menai Strait, 
" and from Holyhead a sailing packet, sloop, or lugger, giv- 
ing but scant accommodation, made the passage to Dublin, 
sometimes in seven hours, sometimes in from three to seven 
days. It was at that time a two days' journey across a bleak 
and boggy country " from Dublin to Sligo. Changed times ! 
We may now dine in London, and on the following day in 

Dr. Urwick appears to have been an indefatigable worker, 
and he largely increased the number of his congregation. At 
the close of the year 1824 he took part in the " Easky Dis- 
cussion." The priest of Easky had challenged to a public 
debate, in presence of his congregation, two Scripture-readers 
who had formerly been Eoman Catholics, and who were then 
travelling through his district. At an early hour the chapel 
was filled with a large concourse of people. The chairman sat 
before the altar ; reporters took down verbatim all that was said, 


together with quotations read ; each speaker stood on the steps 
of the High Altar when he addressed the meeting. 

On behalf of the Protestants were Dr. Urwick and the 
Scripture- readers Messrs. Jordan and Murray. On the side of 
the Eoman Catholics the Rev. Messrs. Devine, Hughes, and 
Lyons. One on either side spoke alternately. The discussion 
lasted only two days, the parish priest then insisting that the 
dehate should he concluded. The shorthand notes relating to 
this discussion were published . 

Dr. Urwick remained in Sligo till the year 1827, when he 
received "a call " to the Congregational Church in York-street, 
Dublin, where he passed the remainder of his active ministerial 
life. For about six months after Dr. Urwick' s departure, the 
Eev. S. Binks, of Bristol, carried on the ministration, and his 
successor seems to have been a Mr. Carlile. In 1831, the Eev. 
E. H. Nolan was appointed minister, and in 1835 was succeeded 
by the Eev. Noble Shepperd. It was during the ministration 
of the latter that the present handsome church, schools, and 
manse were erected in Stephen-street at a cost of 3000, the 
money having been collected principally in England. The 
ceremony of laying the foundation stone took place on the 3rd 
April, 1850, and the church was opened for divine worship on 
15th August of the following year. 

Prior to 1846 Mr. Shepperd had started a school that was 
transformed, during the famine, into a ragged school, in which 
the children were supplied with food. When the period of 
distress was over it reverted to its original use, but was closed 
when the Model School was established. Mr. Shepperd died in 
August, 1875, and was succeeded by the Eev. James Sterling, 
who was followed in 1885 by the present minister, Eev. H. E. 
Bennett, B.A. 

The plot on which the church and other buildings stand 
has been lately purchased, and is now the property of the 

OF METHODISM the exact date, and the means by which 
it was introduced into Sligo, are not recorded. It is probable 
that in 1757 some person connected with the Society in 



Drumsna settled in this town and invited to his house the 
preacher stationed at Castlebar. The minister's name is not 
mentioned ; but the then Eector of St. John's, the Kev. 
Eubule Ormsby, was unwilling to interfere with this pioneer 
of Methodism. 

In May, 1758, Wesley paid his first visit to Sligo, riding 
from Drumsna through Ballymote, Collooney, and Ballysa- 
dare. The prospect was so encouraging that arrangements 
were made for regular visits by the minister stationed in Cas- 
tlebar. On May 16th, 1760, Wesley again visited the town 
and found the congregation so much increased in number that 
he saw the need of providing a comfortable place wherein to 
hold the services ; accordingly a large and commodious apart- 
ment was procured. In 1775 the first Methodist Chapel was 
erected in "Bridge-street;" it was small, and had an exceed- 
ingly low, thatched roof. By this time, however, the town 
had become the head of a Circuit, provided with two ministers. 
On May 20th, 1789, Wesley paid his fourteenth and last 
visit to Sligo, and was entertained in the barracks by the then 
Quartermaster of the 1st Dragoons. 

About this time Gideon Ouseley " Ireland's most successful 
evangelist " settled in the town, and opened a school in the 
little chapel in "Bridge-street," which was largely attended. 
He, with other ministers, preached in the open air, more espe- 
cially on market-days, and as they addressed the people in 
their native Irish tongue, crowds gathered around, listening 
eagerly and respectfully. In 1797 Ouseley settled in Bally- 
mote and delivered many outdoor addresses. 

In 1802 the old building in Sligo proving insufficient for 
the congregation, a new and more commodious one was erected 
in Linenhall-street. Later on, this was superseded by the 
present church, situated in Wine- street, and which was opened 
for Divine service on Sunday, 3rd June, 1832. 

The ministers are itinerant, three years being the longest 
period they can remain in one place. This, though an excellent 
system when the body was first organized it being then a 
missionary society, so to speak is now somewhat out of date. 


Two ministers are generally appointed to a Circuit, which com- 
prises several congregations ; these are assisted by local preachers, 
leaders, and class-leaders. From these the "leader's meet- 
ing " is formed, at which the ministers attend, the presiding 
clergyman being styled the " superintendent." This board 
(which is supposed to meet weekly) manages the affairs of the 
local society, and the "quarterly meeting," composed of the 
same officials, together with the trustees of chapels, manages 
the affairs of the Circuit, A number of Circuits form a district ; 
a " conference " meets annually and is the supreme ecclesiastical 
court. Sligo is the head of the district, which includes nine 
Circuits ; in each of them, one or more ministers are stationed. 
These Circuits include Castlebar, Ballina, Mohill, Longford, 
Drumshambo, Boyle, Ballymote, Manorhamilton, and West- 
port. The Sligo Circuit includes Sligo, Drum, Ballinfull, and 
Collooney, the work being carried on by two ministers and a 
staff of local preachers and leaders. The church in the Sligo 
Circuit is supported by voluntary contributions. In 1889 
the Circuit contributed for foreign missions, " Circuit support " 
and other benevolent purposes, a sum of 643 8s. 1^. 

In 1829 a Wesleyan Methodist chapel was opened in Bal- 
lymote, the plot of ground being given free of charge by Lord 
Kirkwall. The Methodist chapel in Collooney was built and 
opened for service in 1861. It stands upon a small plot that 
formerly belonged to the Crown, but being sold by public auction 
was purchased by the Methodist body. 

THE CHRISTIAN BRETHREN are represented in Sligo. 
They have purchased the old " Union Chapel "in " Back- 
lane," and it is now designated "The Hall." This sect 
has numbered amongst its adherents some able men notably, 
John Darby ; hence, they are sometimes styled " Darbyites." 
Most of the leaders of this movement have been Irish. Their 
numbers are not known, and the Census figures may be mis- 
leading ; but their total in this county is probably under one 
hundred. They do not take part in political elections or in 
municipal matters. 



TION was formed in 1868, principally through the exertions 
of the Rev. John Dowden, who was then incumbent of Calry 
parish. In the beginning, the Association held its meetings in 
a small room near the "Victoria Bridge," but its progress being 
very rapid larger accommodation had to be procured, and on 
May 5th, 1880, an apartment in the Town Hall was hired. 
About 1884, the Primitive Methodists offered for sale their 
meeting house in Stephen-street ; it was purchased by a few 
gentlemen, was fitted up, and styled " The Sligo Protestant 
Hall." Rooms for their accommodation were then offered to 
the S. U. Y. M. 0. A., at a much lower rent than those occupied 
by them in the Town Hall. In March, 1885, a branch of the 
Association transferred their property from the Town Hall to 
the Protestant Hall. At present there are about 150 members ; 
the reading-room is well supplied with periodicals, and the 
leading daily and weekly newspapers ; the library contains 
nearly 500 volumes. The dissentients to the removal of the 
Association from the Town Hall started a new society styled 
"The Sligo Young Men's Christian Association." In 1889 
they entertained the idea of holding an Exhibition in the 
town ; the authorities of the Science and Art Department, 
South Kensington, consented to send a selection of exhibits, 
and from that time forward the Exhibition advanced con- 
siderably beyond the proportions originally contemplated. 
Promises of loans from local sources poured in, and the greater 
part of the Town Hall, where the Exhibition was to be held, 
was beautifully decorated. The opening day was fixed for 
April 8th ; the Exhibition remained open for eight days, and 
during that time nearly 6000 people passed through the doors. 

was started in Sligo in 1884, commencing with about 30 mem- 
bers and associates ; there are now 80 on the roll, and the 
attendance averages from 30 to 50 on " class-night," which 
is once a week. The rooms, large and suitable for their purpose, 
are open every evening. All these Associations for young men 
and young women are undenominational. 


THE TOWN HALL is situated in Quay- street. So early as 
1825, at a meeting of the gentry of the county, it was resolved 
that a Company should be raised with a capital of 5000, in 
shares of 25, for the purpose of erecting a Town Hall and 
Public Booms in Sligo, but the project at that time collapsed. 

The reformed Corporation having no place wherein to meet for 
transaction of business, Mr. Wynne granted them, during some 
years, the use of the old town-office free of charge. In 1848, 
however, he signified his intention in future to charge rent, and 
they moved elsewhere. At a meeting of the Town Council, on 
March 21st, 1859, it was resolved to make an application to the 
Town and Harbour Commissioners, that the Corporation should 
be accommodated with a room. Matters, however, continued 
in an unsatisfactory state until March, 1860, when the follow- 
ing petition was forwarded to the Lord Lieutenant : 



"That Sligo, possessing a population of fifteen thousand, has no 
Town Hall, Library, or Beading Room, and that the want of a public 
building for those purposes is much felt by the inhabitants. 

" That the Town Council of Sligo has only power by the Municipal 
Reform Act to strike a rate of threepence in the pound on the annual 
tenement valuation, and that the small sum so levied, which does not 
amount to 200 a-year, is scarcely sufficient to pay the necessary 
officers of the Corporation very small salaries. That it is therefore 
impossible for the Town Council to raise or levy funds in order to erect 
a suitable Town Hall, Library, and Reading Room, and believing such 
a building to be a work of great public utility, and that if erected 
private individuals would supply books and requisites, they most 
respectfully pray that your Excellency will recommend the Lords 
Commissioners of Her Majesty's Treasury to allocate towards this 
useful and highly desirable object the portion of the public money 
called the Reproductive Loan Fund, which has been returned from the 
County of Sligo, the balance of which Memorialists believe amounts to 
about two thousand pounds. 

" That in consequence of the very severe and long-continued 
winter, the high price of food and fuel, and the scarcity of employment, 
the working class in this district is in much distress ; and as the fund 
was created by the spontaneous liberality of the people of Great Britain 
and Ireland to relieve the distress then existing, your Memorialists 


venture respectfully to suggest that the present time is a period when 
the object of the fund could be beneficially carried out in a useful 
public work which would give considerable employment. 

" And your Memorialists will ever pray. 

" Signed on behalf of the Corporation of Sligo, in Council 
assembled : 

' ' HENRY LYONS, Mayor ; 
[SEAL.] "GEO. WHITTAKEE, Town Clerk." 

In November, 1860, the Lords of the Treasury stated that 
they were : 

" Prepared to take into consideration the question of granting 
money from the Reproductive Loan, on receiving an estimate of the 
probable cost of the proposed Town Hall, including the furnishing 
thereof, together with a statement of the amount actually subscribed, 
on account of such expenses, as their Lordships are of opinion that 
a fair proportion of the cost should be provided out of funds locally 
collected, and that as the balance in their hands on account of the fund 
above referred to is applicable to the entire county, their Lordships do 
not feel justified in sanctioning the application of the whole of it to any 
object or objects in the town of Sligo." 

A Committee was at once formed to solicit voluntary sub- 
scriptions. At the first meeting a sum of 250 was collected, 
the estimated cost of the building being 5000. The Grand 
Jury of the County unanimously recommended the grant, and 
waived their claim to any portion of the money, whilst the 
Mayor, in a letter of November 19th, stated " that the Hall will 
be as available for County purposes as for the Corporation." 

On the 14th December, the Lords of the Treasury appro- 
priated the balance of the Eeproductive Loan Fund, about 
2790, to defray the cost of the proposed buildings, and on the 
1st January, 1861, a unanimous vote of thanks was given by 
the Council to Moses Monds, " as the person who first suggested 
the idea of applying for and ultimately succeeding in obtaining 
the balance of the Eeproductive Loan Fund." 

In the survey of the town taken in the year 1662, the site 
on which the Town Hall now stands is described as "The Castle- 
quarter, now the New Fort beginning at the bridge, south side 

[To face page 152. 



of the fort." This plot, on which had originally stood the old 
castle, 1 replaced by the " New Fort," was subsequently styled 
the "Barrack Fort," or the (as time advanced) "old Fort Plot," 
and thus the place which formerly re-echoed to the clang of 
war is now devoted to the more peaceful, yet occasionally very 
militant, debates of the town-councillors. The plot on which 
the Fort stood was demised to the Crown (by lease, dated 
November 15, 1700), for 999 years, at the nominal rent of Is. ; 
it was used for a barrack so late as 1766 ; in 1792, the Board of 
Ordnance demised the premises to Owen Wynne, by lease, sub- 
ject to a rent of 18 Irish, but, in 1856 it became by purchase, 
the absolute property of the Wynne family. There were long 
negotiations on the subject of the sale between Mr. Wynne 
and the Corporation. Mr. John Wynne's offer of the plot for 
1100 was finally approved of at a meeting held October 26, 
1861. The offices of the Harbour Commissioners were to be 
combined with the municipal offices, the Harbour Commissioners 
agreeing to pay 50 per annum for the use thereof ; owing, 
however, to the deficiency of funds necessary to carry on the 
work, it was finally decided that they should give 500 in cash, 
and be thus rent free, whilst for the same reason |Mr. Wynne 
was induced to accept 50 as yearly ground-rent in lieu of the 
sum of 1100 ; the deed of conveyance was executed May, 
1864, and possession given July 27th of same year, when 
advertisements were at once inserted in the newspapers for 
plans and specifications for the building. 

Sir John Benson a well-known architect, and a native of 
Sligo, was requested to give his assistance to the Committee 
appointed by the Corporation for selection, and from amongst 
a large number of plans that furnished by Mr. Hague was 
decided upon. On July 28th, 1865, a tender amounting 
to 5000 was accepted from Messrs. Crowe, Brothers, for 
the building ; Mr. James Caldwell being appointed clerk of 

1 The old castle must have been an imposing structure, for, in Camden's 
Britannica (Gibson's edition, vol. ii., p. 1411), it is stated that from Killy- 
begs, in the County Donegal, " the remains of Sligah Castle are still 


the works. On October 12th. the foundation-stone was laid, in 
presence of a large concourse of spectators ; underneath the 
stone, enclosed in a glass jar, were deposited a record of the 
history of the erection of the building, also a list of the 
names of the members of the Town Council and Corporation 
officers, together with a specimen of each coin of the realm. 

In 1866 rules drawn up for the management of the building 
were submitted for approval of the Lord Lieutenant, and sanc- 
tioned by him. Great difficulties were experienced in complet- 
ing the work, owing to scarcity of funds ; the original contract 
was greatly exceeded, and though no exact returns are now 
procurable, it is believed that the total cost, including furnishing 
and painting, was not short of 10,000. 

The Clock-tower was subsequently erected by the Harbour 
Commissioners, the clock itself being presented by a member of 
the Council. The bell of the Town Hall bears on its exterior 
the national devices a harp, crown, and shamrock together 
with the inscription in raised letters : " Presented to his fellow- 
townsmen, by Charles Anderson, Sligo." 

There was great delay in allocating a room for the Free 
Library, but on July 30, 1880, it was at last formally opened, 
a large room on the ground-floor being appropriated to this 
object. According to Mr. D. Saultry (the librarian) it contains 
1800 volumes ; the average daily attendance is 100 ; it is open 
from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. on weekdays, and from 2 to 7 p.m. on 
Sundays. The yearly expenditure is 47 per annum. 

The other rooms are used as : 1, a Commercial Beading 
Eoom; 2, the Council Chamber; 3, the Young Men's Christian 
Association. The rooms in the upper floor are used for the 
office of the town-clerk ; the mayor's room ; the harbour-office ; 
also a large assembly room, &c., which can be let for public 
meetings, concerts, &c. ; the income derived from this source, 
in some years, amounts to a considerable sum; the Town Hall, 
however, is itself a dead loss of about 75 a-year. 

An unsuccessful effort was made in the year 1872 to pur- 
chase the plot of ground lying south of the Town Hall, between 
it and Lower Knox's-street. This open space would have been 


of great benefit ; it might have been utilized as a small recrea- 
tion ground, and it would have displayed to view the architec- 
tural beauty of the building which is now almost concealed by 
the newly- erected warehouse of Messrs. Lyons and Co. 

THE ASSIZE COURTS (fig. 28) were erected in 1878-9 at a 
cost of about 17,000 on the site of the old Courthouse and 
gaol, portions of which were utilized in the new building, to the 
value of about 3000. Mr. E. Carroll, F.E.I.B. A., was the archi- 
tect. The principal entrance from Albert- street is by a large 
open arcaded porch leading by a short vestibule to the public 
hall, which forms the principal means of communication with 
the courts and the several public offices on the ground floor ; the 
Crown Solicitor's offices are to the left of the entrance, with 
rooms beyond for prisoners in waiting ; to the right are the 
rooms for jurors in waiting, and a barrister's consulting room. 
Adjoining this latter is the court-keeper's house, with accom- 
modation for the barristers, and having direct access by a private 
corridor to the two courts. The Crown and Eecord Courts 
are behind the central hall, with entrances for the public direct 
from it ; they are divided by a wide corridor which leads to the 
two judges' rooms beyond, and also gives private access to the 
courts for barristers, solicitors, and others having business there. 
Attached to each court are two petty- jury rooms. 

The Eecord Court is similar in arrangement to the Crown 
Court, except as regards the accommodation required in the latter 
for conducting criminal cases. Both the courts are lighted by 
windows placed high up in the walls, and they are heated by 
hot-water pipes. 

At each end of the central hall there are stone staircases 
leading to the upper floor, enclosed by stone-pointed arcades 
which continue round the corridor above. The hall has an open 
timber hammer-beam roof, and is lighted from above by pointed 
lights between the rafters. 

The county surveyor's and grand- jury secretary's offices 
open off the upper corridor. On the upper floor, at the rear of 
the courts, is the grand- jury room, with committee and witness 
rooms adjoining, and with a separate corridor for the public. 


The style of architecture adopted is Gothic, freely treated. 
In the front, towards Albert- street, the central feature on the 
ground floor is an open porch with circular pillars in the centre, 
and square piers at the angles, carrying three pointed arches ; 
above these there is a group of seven windows with cusped heads 
and mullions, the whole finishing with a high pitched gable. 
The central gable stands out from a high mansard roof here, 
which is flanked by two circular stone pinnacles or turrets with 
sunk panels, and finished with conical stone roofs. An impor- 
tant feature in this front is the octagon ventilating tower, which 
is about 60 feet high to the roof parapet; it has four storeys, and 
is covered by a slated roof with two ranges of dormers alter- 
nating on each of the eight sides, the whole finishing by an 
iron finial about twelve feet high. 

The front extends to about one hundred and fifty feet, 
including the old gaol, which has been newly faced to correspond 
with the rest. Most of the cut stone used in this building 
is from the quarries at Mount Charles, near Donegal ; it is a 
superior stone, and retains its original colour well. 

OF G-AOLS in our modern acceptation of the term there 
were formerly but few in Ireland. In the fourteenth century, 
when the province of Connaught was one vast shire, under 
Richard de Bermingham as sheriff, it is stated (Patent Eoll, 
31st Ed. I. No. 10) that the King possessed no prison in the 
entire County of Connaught in which prisoners could be 
securely kept. Until comparatively recent times the castles 
either of the Anglo-Normans or native Irish chiefs did duty 
both as prisons and residences, and to the Irish Monasteries 
there was sometimes a penitential prison attached ; also 
Crannogs, or Lake Dwellings, were also frequently utilized 
for a similar purpose. 

It has been found impossible to identify the locality occupied 
by the first prison erected in Sligo. At the close of the seven- 
teenth century, " a prison and session-house " stood between 
the site of the present Courthouse in Albert-street, and the 
corner of Castle-street ; in 1766 both these buildings had been 

\Tofacepage 156. 



re-erected in High-street, at the corner of Back-lane, and a 
"house of correction" stood behind the present (No. 1) police- 
barracks. A gaol and courthouse were in 1809 built on the old 
site, in the present Albert-street, or immediately adjoining it. 
The presentments for the purpose in 1808 amounted to upwards 
of 2650. The Committee were Edward Cooper, Owen Wynne, 
Colonel Irwin, Jones Irwin, and Abraham Martin. 

In 1818 the present prison was built at a cost of 38,000 ; 
and at that period " some ladies had begun visiting the female 
prisoners of the town, on the plan of the celebrated Mrs. Fry. 
A schoolmaster was engaged for the men, and a mistress for the 
women, who were taught to read and sew." 

In 1823 a treadmill and other additions were erected at a 
cost of 3300. 

The cholera epidemic of 1832 found its way into the prison, 
but no death cases occurred. la 1849 there were 291 prisoners 
in custody, this being the highest number recorded on the 
books. The gaol afforded a constant asylum to lunatics, 
varying in number from fourteen to twenty. 

In 1838 W. Tucker was Governor of " the Sheriff's Prison," 
and J. Beatty Governor of the House of Correction ; the latter 
was afterwards appointed over both prisons. In 1857 Mr. 
Walsh was appointed Governor, vice Beatty, superannuated; 
whilst in 1884, Captain H. C. Lloyd was transferred from H.M. 
Prison of Castlebar to fill the place of Mr. Walsh, deceased. 

The last public execution took place in 1861 ; the offence 
was murder of the most brutal description, and the object of 
the murder was robbery. The latest execution occurred on the 
20th March, 1875, for the murder of an old man at Ash-lane, 
Sligo. Robbery was the object of the murder. 

In 1878 the management of the prison was transferred from 
the Grand Jury of the County to Government. In the follow- 
ing year gas was introduced into the prison, the cells were 
heated by hot -water pipes, and sanitary arrangements were 
improved, all at a cost of 700, whilst in 1885 the prison was 
enlarged (by prison labour) at a cost of 500. Useless work 
was no longer enforced all labour being now reproductive. 


This tends to make the prison a self-supporting establishment. 
" Hard Labour," in the case of male prisoners, is enforced by 
means of the treadmill, which pumps up water for sanitation 
and other purposes, by oakum -picking, by stone-breaking, and 
wood- chopping. Industrial labour consists of shoemaking, tailor- 
ing, tinsmith work, carpentry, painting, glazing, and gardening. 
Female prisoners are employed at sewing, knitting, and washing. 
All articles manufactured by prison labour save oakum, broken 
stones, and firewood, which are sold to the public are for the 
benefit of the prison. 

The present staff consists of a governor, medical officer, 
Protestant and Roman Catholic chaplains, chief warder, clerk, 
storekeeper, together with seven warders, two assistant matrons, 
and an officers'-mess servant. The salaries of the subordinate 
officers are now 100 per cent, higher than when the prison was 
under control of the Grand Jury. Discipline in the Irish 
Prisons is now more carefully maintained than heretofore ; this 
is principally owing to the fact that no officers are appointed of 
whose previous character and intelligence the General Prisons 
Board are not fully satisfied. Before a candidate's appointment 
is confirmed, the Civil Service Commissioners must be satisfied 
as to his or her educational attainments. An officer on appoint- 
ment now is intended for general prison service, consequently 
must jo in the staff of one named by the Greneral Prisons Board ; 
this is invariably situated at a long distance from his native 
place. A Visiting Committee, consisting of Justices of the 
Peace, is still appointed by the Grand Jury at each Assizes. 

THE COUNTY SLIGO INFIRMARY holds a leading position 
amongst such institutions. Four hundred and one patients 
were, in 1889, treated as intern, whilst no fewer than two hun- 
dred and eighty applicants resided beyond a ten mile radius. 

The Journals of the Irish House of Commons relate that on 
the 15th of March, 1766, a committee was appointed to bring 
in " heads of a Bill for erecting and establishing public County 
Infirmaries in the Kingdom." This Act (5 George III., c. 20), 
is, in its) main provisions, in force at present. Additions have 


been made in the powers of Grand Juries, for whilst the original 
Act permitted only an annual presentment of 100, they may 
now present up to a sum of 1400. At present, however, the 
Grand Jury Act (6 & 7 William IV., c. 116) rules all appoint- 
ments and presentments to County Infirmaries. The amount 
of relief accorded by means of these institutions is very con- 
siderable. The Association of Infirmary Surgeons, through 
their Hon. Secretary, Dr. MacDonnell, Dundalk, publish from 
time to time statistics concerning them. All the buildings were 
originally erected by private subscriptions ; and in many cases 
they revert to the lord of the soil should they cease to be main- 
tained as at present. 

A large amount of medical and surgical relief, at a com- 
paratively low rate of expense, is afforded to the poor in Sligo 
by the County Infirmary. The cases admitted are, in general, 
the same class in all essentials as those treated in metropolitan 
hospitals. The means of support is derived from (1) present- 
ments by the Grand Jury; (2) subscriptions to qualify as 
governors of the hospital ; (3) bequests and donations. It may 
be roughly calculated that eighty- five per cent, of the income 
is derived from the first source. 

No old records of the Infirmary are now extant. It existed 
in the last century, but was then supported by voluntary sub- 
scriptions. The site and materials were sold by the Grand 
Jury when the new building was erected. Up to 45 George III. 
it would appear as if infirmaries supported by public rates were 
only established in certain specified localities. The wings to 
the present edifice were added about the year 1845. 

The female accident ward has been fitted up by the Wynne 
family in memory of the late Right Hon. John Wynne, and 
as a memorial of the interest he always took in the institution, 
which is now a model of its kind. It is thoroughly equipped 
in all particulars, sanitary accommodation, &c., well-trained 
nurses, and a good supply of the best surgical instruments and 

Drs. Burnside and Ovenden were surgeons to the Infirmary 
at the close of the last and commencement of the present 


oentury. Surgeon William Bell was in office in 1813, died of 
cholera in 1832, when Dr. Thomas Little was appointed. In 
1849 he succumbed to a similar epidemic, and was succeeded by 
Dr. W. S. Little. In 1877 the present surgeon, E. Mac Dowal, 
was appointed. 

In the year 1813 a medal in connexion with the " County 
81igo Infirmary " was struck by William Stephen Mossop, a 
well-known artist, having on it a view of the building. The 
medal is mentioned by W. Frazer, M.D., in his essay " On the 
Medallists of Ireland and their Work." 

THE FEVER HOSPITAL was, in the last century, situated in 
a then completely isolated position on the green headland west- 
ward of the present Victoria approach to the town. Here it 
remained for a lengthened period until the new edifice, now in 
use, was erected. It bears over the door the inscription : 
SYNGE COOPER, Esq., M.P., 1822. On the 29th May of that year 
it was announced that the new Fever Hospital had been occupied, 
and contained no less than thirty-eight patients, and from the 
distress of the poor, the fever cases were daily increasing. Just 
before the outbreak of the cholera ten years subsequently it 
was almost empty of patients, as demonstrated by the returns of 
the sick which were published weekly in the columns of the local 
newspaper. This hospital was not long ago in a very dilapidated 
condition ; the doors and window-sashes needed repair, and the 
accommodation for the fever- stricken was totally inadequate, 
according to modern and humane ideas. This state of affairs is 
said to have arisen from the almost periodical opposition made to 
the presentments at sessions for support of the institution by 
magistrates living in distant parts of the county, who were of 
opinion that a central hospital was not required. The oldest 
records of the hospital have disappeared, so that a complete list 
of physicians is at present not procurable. The medical men in 
charge of the Fever Hospital since 1822, were Drs. Irwin, 
Ooyne, Knott, Homan, Lynn, and Murray. 

THE LUNATIC ASYLUM is a noble structure in the Eliza- 


bethan style; the site is distant about a mile from the towii 
and in a favourable position, commanding a view of very 
picturesque scenery. 

After the first passing of the Acts regarding lunacy, most 
cases of insanity occurring in the counties of Sligo and Leitrim 
that required special treatment, were sent to Ballinasloe, where 
there was then a central asylum for the province of Connaught ; 
in consequence, however, of its over- crowded condition, an order 
in Council was made, on the 17th April, 1847, constituting the 
counties of Sligo and Leitrim a " Lunatic District" (within the 
meaning of the Act), and ordering the erection near the town 
of Sligo of an asylum to accommodate 250 inmates. On the 
7th November, 1847, amidst a large concourse of people, the 
foundation-stone was laid. A bottle was sealed up containing 
The Sligo Journal and The Champion newspapers, together with 
a slip of parchment descriptive of the particulars of the day's 
ceremony, together with a specimen of each copper and silver 
coin of the realm. The bottle was then placed in a hollow cut 
in the stone, which was covered with a zinc plate. The amount 
of the contract was nearly 30,000, the architect being Mr. 
William Deane Butler, and the contractor Mr. James Caldwell. 
In the year 1874, owing to the increase in the number of 
registered lunatics, the asylum was enlarged by the addition of 
two wings, at a cost of 14,000, which increased the accommo- 
dation from 250 to 470 beds. 

It is alleged that year by year the percentage of insane is 
on the increase, that the number of those bereft of reason is 
augmenting with greater rapidity than it ought ; but this may 
be fairly accounted for by improved registration, as also by a 
diminished death-rate amongst the insane owing to better 
treatment ; likewise to the fact that many are now placed in 
restraint who, in former times, would have been left at large ; 
the increase of insanity is therefore greater in appearance than 
in reality. 

In Sligo dangerous lunatics were confined in the county 
gaol coercion and seclusion being the usual course pursued in 
cases where restraint seemed necessary ; some were sent to 



Dublin, those of unsound mind, who appeared to be harmless, 
were allowed to wander about the country eking out a pre- 
carious living by begging, and numerous anecdotes are re- 
counted of this class. One well known " natural " solicited 
alms from a young gentleman whose father recently dead 
had taken great pride in the planting of his demesne, and 
would not permit any of the trees to be cut down. The son 
was then occupied in superintending the felling of some timber 
for sale, and instead of bestowing upon the beggar the alms his 
father had been accustomed to give, told him, with an oath, "to 
go to hell." " Begorra, your honour, when I go," replied the 
idiot, "I'll tell your father you're cutting the timber." A 
somewhat similar story is told of the celebrated surgeon Aber- 
nethy, who, finding opposite his residence a large pile of paving 
stones which prevented his carriage from being drawn up at the 
hall door, swore at the pavier and ordered him to remove the 
stones. "Where shall I take them to?" asked the workman, 
who was an Irishman. " To hell," shouted the choleric dis- 
ciple of JEsculapius. Pat smilingly replied : " Hadn't I better 
take them to heaven sure they'd be more out of your honour's 

It is stated that even so late as 1828, the gaol afforded an 
asylum to lunatics ; in February, 1831, there were thirty 
thus confined, and twenty-eight in the year following ; in 
March, 1849, there were only fourteen. Prior to the erection 
of the present asylum, a few harmless lunatics were kept in a 
house, the ruins of which may still be seen about two miles from 
Sligo, on the road to Bosses Point. 

According as the system of more modified restraint for the 
insane developed, in like manner did the need for supplying 
them with means of occupation become essential, therefore, a 
further portion of land was purchased, at a cost of 5500, and 
it is now utilized as a tillage-farm thus affording ample em- 
ployment, or rather recreation to the inmates of the asylum. 
The farm is self-supporting, and supplies the requirements of 
the establishment in potatoes, vegetables, milk, &c. ; the net 
profit averages 550 per annum ; for 1888, it was nearly 740 ; 


for 1889 about 654, the articles consumed being credited at 
full market price. A high boundary wall had surrounded the 
original farm of 30 acres, and when its area was increased there 
was no real impediment to the exit of such of the patients as 
might at the time be employed at work on the newly-added 
portion of land ; but in consequence, probably, of the greater 
amount of freedom supposed to be enjoj'ed by the patients 
thus seemingly at perfect liberty, the escapes or attempts 
at escape diminished in number. 

The separate rooms for sleeping accommodation of the in- 
mates have lately been converted into dormitories, with the 
result of obtaining greater order and quiet. 

The expenditure on the Institution has been, of late, in- 
creasing considerably ; under the regime of the late Dr. John 
M'Munn, the first resident medical superintendent (appointed 
1852, died 1882), the total disbursement for the years 1856 and 
1857 was 3025, and 3109 for maintenance of 120 and 143 
patients, respectively ; in the year 1889, it was almost 9000 
for 439 patients ; however, the Treasury grant covered one 
half of this amount, leaving the residue to be defrayed by the 
tax-payers of the counties of Sligo and Leitrim. The present 
medical officer in charge is allowed to have an assistant, resident 
in the house, the visiting and consulting physician being 
E. 0. Mac Dowal, M.D. During the year 1889 the average daily 
number of patients in the building was 439. 

mencement of the century, i. e. in 1804, 30 was voted by the 
Grand Jury for the training of a proper nurse, whilst during 
the year 1819 " fifty poor married lying-in women were 
attended by the accoucheur." Notices regarding the institution 
occur from time to time in the columns of the local newspaper. 

In aid of the " House of Befuge," various sums of money 
were bestowed by individuals, and the moiety of fines levied in 
the Borough was also given in support of the House : the old 
Infirmary would seem to have been utilized for this purpose. 
Both these institutions appear to have been discontinued on, or 
shortly after, the introduction of dispensaries. 



So early as the commencement of the eighteenth century 
there was a charity-school in the town of Sligo. Alderman 
Draper, in his will, dated 1719, bequeathed " to the charity 
Black-boys of the town of Sligo, the sum of fifty pounds ster- 
ling which is now in the hands of Thomas Jennings, of Sligo, 

merchant, at interest, to be paid as my executors shall appoint 
and direct for the support of said charity-school." Towards the 
close of the century the manner of providing for foundlings and 
exposed children grew to be such an intolerable nuisance that 
the Vestry of the Union of St. John's refused to sanction any 
outlay, so that these waifs would appear to have been thence- 
forward sent to Dublin. The following are the numbers of 
admissions from the county Sligo, into the " Foundling Hos- 
pital" in that city, during nine years and a-half up to the 
31st December, 1808 : 1800, 3 ; 1801, 6 ; 1802, 4; 1803, 6; 
1804,8 ; 1805, 13; 1806, 23; 1807, 19, half-year 9 ; 1808, 13 ; 
total, 104. 

as but a continuation of the Cholera Orphan Society of 1832 
owes its origin to the " Friendly Brothers' Club," which 
used to meet in Sligo on March 17th in each year, and to 
make a collection from the members then present in aid of 
some charitable object. In the year 1837 mainly through 
the influence of the Eev. William Armstrong, incumbent of 
Calry it was considered that no better application of their 
annual collection could be made than devoting it to the support 
of the orphans of deceased Protestants, who had lived and 
died in their own county, leaving no adequate provision for 
their widows and children. Accordingly, in 1839, the so- 
ciety was formed, about the time that the " Dublin Protestant 
Orphan Society " also came into existence. A committee was 
named : 

The Bishop of Elphin, Patron-, Lord Lorton, President-, 0. Wynne, 
E. J. Cooper, Colonel A. Perceval, Sir E. Gore-Booth, Bt.; Colonel 
Knox-Gore, Colonel J. Irwin, Hon. C. "Wingfield and Major O'Hara, 


The Committee consisted of: 

Captain Barrett, Jemmett Duke, W. Faussett, Captain Fenton, B. 
Gethin, Junr.; Gowan Gillmor, J. Holmes, John Martin, MajorParke, 
John Wynne, Laurence" ''Ternon7-i4all the clergy of the County ex 
ojficio. James Wood, Treaswrer\ Bev/WftKam-Armstrong and W. C. 
Wood, Secretaries. 

The Eules of the Dublin Orphan Society were adopted, and 
the first meeting was held in the school-room, John-street, on 
March 17th, 1840. In the Eeport read, only thirty-five 
orphans had been admitted, to whom grants for mainte- 
nance, &c., had been made, ranging from 30s. to 5. 

The Society laboured on for several years with very limited 
financial resources, until it was adopted universally by the 
county, and gradually became, as it now is, one of its leading 
and most important institutions. During a lengthened period 
it depended entirely on card collections, sermons, offertories, 
and annual subscriptions, but it was largely aided some twenty- 
five years since by a basket-sale of work, provided by Miss 
Mary Cooper, of Cooper's Hill, and members of her family, and 
friends. This latter form of aid developed into a bazaar, 
managed by the late Mrs. L'Estrange, of Kevinsfort, and Mrs 
Cooper, of Markree. It still flourishes under a " ladies' com- 
mittee," and provides fully half the annual income of the 
Society, the sale in 1889 realizing upwards of 300. 

The total number of orphans elected since the formation 
of the Society is 952 ; about 23,000 has been received and 
expended for their benefit ; at present there are 96 children 
depending on its aid for maintenance, clothing, and general 
provision. The condition of the Society is in every way pros- 
perous and encouraging, and a training establishment for young 
girls as domestic servants is about to be established. 

In a Corporation document of 1760 mention is made of a 
" workhouse," and there was also an " almshouse." The 
11 & 12 Geo. III., chap, xxx., repealed an Act of Henry VIII., 
entitled "An Act for Vagabonds," as also 11 Charles II., 
and gave facilities " for the erection of corporations for relief 
of the poor." 


A MENDICITY INSTITUTION for benefit of the destitute poor 
of Sligo was founded after the labours of the Belief Committee, 
appointed to alleviate the condition of sufferers during the 
famine of 1822, had drawn to a close. The local newspaper, 
in the commencement of the year 1823, drew attention to an 
evil which, though familiar, yet did not appear to have ex- 
cited that exertion to meet it that its paramount importance 
seemed to demand, i. e. the increased and alarming state of 
pauperism then existing in Sligo. The streets were literally 
crowded with beggars of every description, from the sturdy 
mendicant to the little urchin pickpocket, the annoyance of 
whose studied and varied wailings was absolutely intolerable. 1 
It was suggested that some commodious building should be 
appropriated for the purpose of establishing proper and profit- 
able employment for these paupers, the majority of whom were 
well able to work. 

All the preliminary steps having been taken, a public 
meeting in furtherance of the project was held, subscriptions 
were raised, and for many years no association of similar kind 
surpassed it in efficiency. It continued until the establish- 
ment of the poor-law system. 

The Institution was formed in April, 1821, in the old House 
of Correction, a site close behind the present police barracks in 
Albert-road, and at the termination of the first year 50,507 
meals had been given to 29,753 persons. The total amount of 
contributions, entirely from voluntary subscriptions supple- 
mented by the proceeds of charity sermons preached in the 
various places of worship in Sligo, amounted to upwards of 
501, but the expenditure was 547, whilst from a separate 
fund, raised for the purpose, 64 suits of wearing apparel were 

The number of paupers at first permanently admitted was 
130, but the establishment was finally regulated so as not, if 
possible, to exceed 60. 

! Carlyle, in his Irish Journey in 1849, thus alludes to this nuisance in 
Sligo ' Beggars, beggars, only industry really followed by the Irish 


On January 23rd, 1826, the Town and Harbour Commis- 
sioners gave the contract for sweeping and cleaning the streets 
to the committee of the Mendicity, for which a sum of 35, 
afterwards increased to 70, was allowed. The paupers appear 
to have been thus utilized until August, 1834, when, owing to 
the defective manner in which the scavenging was performed, 
the grant was discontinued. In 1845 the site of the Mendicity 
was sold by the grand jury for 280. 

On August 21st, 1839, a meeting of the Poor-Law Guar- 
dians of the Sligo Union was held in the Courthouse, and 
a list is here given of the first Board which assembled in the 
grand jury room of the above building : 

" W. H. Handcock, Poor Law Commissioner, attended the meeting; 
Chairman, C. K. O'Hara; Vice- Chairman, John "Wynne ; Deputy Vice- 
Chairman, John Martin; Clerk, Mr. Charles O'Connor. 

" Ex-officio Guardians (13), elected ly the Magistrates of the Union 
from their own Body: John Wynne, C. K. O'Hara, James Wood, 
John Martin, Henry Griffith, Sir James Crofton, Gowan Gillmor, John 
Ormsby, William Eaussett, J. Duke, William Weir, W. H. Hillas, 
H. H. Slade. 

" Guardians (39) elected ly the Cesspayers: Owen Wynne, John 
Anderson, for the North Ward of Sligo ; Knox Barrett, James Boyle, 
for East Ward of same ; Henry O'Connor, James O'Donnell, for West 
Ward of same ; John Delany, for Knocknarea ; William Phibbs, for 
Kilmacowen ; Richard B. Wynne, for Calry ; Pollis Clarke, Richard 
Gethin, f or Drumcliffe ; James Barber, for Carney ; Sir R. Gore-Booth, 
John Gallagher, for Lissadell ; Patrick Leemy, for Rossinver ; Patrick 
M'Entire, W. Gallagher, for Cliffoney ; William Phibbs, Jas. Simpson, 
for Ballysadare ; 0. W. Armstronge, Thomas Phibbs, for Collooney ; 
Henry Burrows, Thomas Smith, for Coolaney ; Thomas Mulrooney, 
for Ballintogher ; Abraham Martin, for Ballinakill ; A. B. Cooper, for 
Riverstown ; Alexander Duke, Samuel Gillmor, for Drumfin ; Robert 
Young, for Cloonacool ; George Dodwell, Philip Gormley, for Bally- 
mote ; John Taaffe, for Cloonoghill ; John Brett, Walter Henry, 
Thomas Cooke, for Tubbercurry ; Martin Burns, for Templeboy ; 
James Dowdican, W. Graham, for Skreen ; Charles Beatty, for Dro- 

The poor-rate commenced at an average of about 5d. in the 
, and went on gradually increasing until the year of the famine, 


when it rose to about 8s. ; it then again decreased, but afterwards 
began to rise, owing to the abuse exercised in the distribution 
of out-door relief. 

The following poor-rates were struck on the various electoral 
divisions in the year 1843 : 

" Knocknarea, 6d. ; Kilmacowen, 5d. ; Calry, 7 %d. ; Drumcliff, 5d.-, 
Carney, 2d. ; Lissadell, 0^. ; Rossinver, Qd. ; Cliffoney, 5d. ; Bally - 
sadare, 2%d. ; Coolaney, 2%d. ; Collooney, 5d. ; Ballintogher, 5d. ; Bal- 
u'nakill, 1\d. ; Riverstown, 5d. ; Drumfin, Z^d. ; Ballymote, 1 Qd. ; 
Cloonoghill, 5d. ; Tubbercurry, 5d. ; Cloonacool, 0^. ; Templeboy, 2%d. ; 
Skreen, 0^?. ; Dromard, Qd. 

THE WORKHOUSE, which was not completed until 1841, is 
built on very low ground, liable to floods. The edifice cost 
13,250, and the Fever Hospital was erected in 1848 at a 
further expenditure of 2800. 

The number in the Workhouse, from being at first only a 
few hundred, rose gradually from the year 1846 to 1849, in 
consequence of the great famine, till the Union- Workhouse 
originally designed to house 1710 inmates was no longer able 
to accommodate all who sought admission, and it was found 
necessary to provide three auxiliary houses, viz. one at Ballin- 
car, another at the Charterhouse, and a third near the site 
now occupied by the artisans' dwellings. 

On the 23rd December there were 1491 recipients of out- 
door relief ; in midsummer of the following year the numbers 
again rose ; but in March, 1850, no out-door relief was given. 
It was, however, shortly afterwards gradually re-introduced, 
and increased with scarcely any intermission. A person being 
once placed on the list, the majority of the Gruardians appeared 
to consider the recipient had obtained a vested right in the 
relief, which in many instances might be regarded as an annuity 
paid with great regularity. 

The annexed statement shows the number of paupers in the 
Workhouse on the 1st September in each year, from the forma- 
tion of the Union to 1855, together with the highest and lowest 



number at any one period of the year in the house. After 1855 
the returns made are quinquennial instead of annual. 


Number in 

Highest Num- 
ber on any 
one day during 

Lowest Num- 
ber on any 
one day during 

1st September, 1842, .... 




1843, .... 




1844, .... 




1845, .... 




1846, .... 




1847, .... 




1848, .... 




1849, .... 




1850, .... 




1851, .... 




1852, .... 




1853, .... 




1854, .... 




1855, .... 




1860, .... 




1865, .... 




1870, .... 




1875, .... 




1880, .... 




1885, .... 




1890, .... 




The Out-door Belief Extension Act passed in 1847 1 was 
little used in the unions till about the year 1865, during which 

1 In the year 1858, the following amusing application was sent in to the 
Board of Guardians by a pauper inmate of the Workhouse : 
"Ye muses from Parnassus' hill, 

I pray ye now assist my quill, 

To spin a simple rustic verse, 

And let the Gents know my distress, 

And hopes the Board will not refuse, 

To grant to me a pair of shoes ; 

The farmers then will me employ, 

(The skin won't do on spade or loy) 

The Lord of Heaven will ye bless, 

To help a brother in distress. 

Kind gentlemen of highest fame, 

My poor request do not disclaim, 

I hope it will not meet a failure, 

Your humble servant, William Taylor." 

It is needless to say that in recompense of this poetic effusion the shoes- 
were granted. 



time one relieving officer discharged all the duties of that 
department. The number of persons thus relieved weekly was 
about twenty, at a cost of 3 per week. The following table 
shows the growth in the Sligo Union of expenditure in out- 
door relief : 

Number in 


receipt of 

Weekly Cost. 




June of 1863, . . 


s. d. 



, , 1868, . . 


7 18 6 



, , 1873, . . 


21 17 7 



, , 1878, . . 


17 18 6 



, , 1883, . . 


26 14 6 



, , 1888, . . 


19 11 6 



The increase in the use of stimulants and tobacco has also 
been steadily progressive. In 1876 the outlay was but 28, in 
1881 77, whilst in 1889 it was nearly 90 per annum. 

By the " Medical Charities Act," the guardians have now 
under their control five dispensaries, with seven medical officers, 
for the treatment of the sick and indigent within the union ; 
medicines and medical appliances are supplied to those who 
are too poor to pay. 

The functions of the guardians, as a local body, have been 
exercised of late in various directions altogether foreign to the 
relief of the poor. They now administer the Sanitary and 
Public Health Acts, by officials under their control ; the 
Parliamentary Voters Act, extended by the Representation of 
the People Act, 1884, and Eegistration Act of 1885; the 
Eegistration of Births, Deaths, and Marriages ; the building 
of labourer's cottages, and inspection of same, under the 
Labourers Acts of 1883 and 1885. Under the Contagious 
Diseases Act of 1878, the inspection of animals within the 
Union, and the export and import of same, are placed under 
their control, in connection with the Veterinary Department. 
The Board is also empowered, under the National School 
Teachers Act of 1875, to contribute, out of the poor rates, 


towards the increase of the salaries of the schoolmasters, the 
matter being left voluntary to them, but if the money be 
granted the Board has no control over its expenditure. Since 
the withdrawal of Dromore West andTubbercurry the valuation 
of the Sligo Union was in 1888 99,075 ; it consists of twenty- 
nine electoral divisions, with an area of 143,523 acres, and a 
population of 46,063. 

Besides the above union, part of those of Boyle and Ballina 
are comprised within the county boundaries ; this sub-division 
causes a considerable amount of unnecessary trouble and 

The Tubbercurry Union consists of twenty-one electoral 
divisions ; the area 125,774 acres ; the valuation (in 1888) 
40,768, and the population 25,721. The union was formed 
23rd February, 1850, the paupers belonging to the district 
having been previously maintained in the Sligo and Swinford 
Workhouses. The cost of erecting the building, including the 
purchase of twelve statute acres of land, was 7400, and the 
Government made a free grant of the amount. 

The number of paupers chargeable to this union on its for- 
mation was 198 indoor, and 3 outdoor. 

In 1860, ... 80 indoor, ... 2 outdoor. 

In 1870, ... 82 ... 58 

In 1880, ... 140 ... 296 

In 1890, ... 99 ... 296 

In 1888 the average daily number in the Workhouse was 
116 ; the total number of persons in receipt of indoor relief was 
995, outdoor 640 ; the indoor maintenance cost 951, outdoor 
953 ; the salaries and rations of officers 561 ; all other 
expenses, 464. Total, 2928. 

The Dromore West Union consists of seventeen electoral 
divisions : the area 96,985 acres ; the valuation 36,883, and 
the population 17,349. The workhouse was, by a sealed order 
of the Poor Law Commissioners, declared fit for the reception 
of paupers, and opened 1st May, 1852, when the paupers in the 
Sligo and Ballina Workhouses, chargeable to the union were 


removed to this house, the total number being 170 indoor, and 
six outdoor. 

In 1862, . . . Ill indoor, . . . no outdoor. 

In 1872, ... 64 ... 19 

In 1882, ... 101 ... 167 

In 1890, ... 60 ... 233 

The cost of the building is stated to have been about 4000. 
The total expenditure of the union for 1889 was about 
3944 ; the maintenance of the inmates, 476 ; outdoor relief, 
457 ; expenses under Medical Charities Act, 589, the balance 
being swallowed up in salaries of officials, and other expenses. 

ARTISANS' DWELLINGS have been built by the Town 
Council. The committee appointed by them proposed the 
erection of sixty houses ; and on the 24th February, 1886, 
there was a further recommendation from them to purchase the 
" Cadgers' Field," and to accept Mr. Ashley's offer of the plot 
for 500. In March a grant of 3000 was received from the 
Commissioners of Public Works, and possession of the ground 
was taken llth August, 1886. On 29th September the plans, 
as drawn by Mr. W. Cochrane, the Borough Surveyor, were 
approved of. The contract for making the roads and sewers 
was given to Mr. George Kerr ; and on 2nd February, 1887, he 
was declared the contractor for erection of most of the houses ; 
three additional being built in 1888. On 22nd February, 1888, 
the site of the Artisans' Dwellings, formerly " The Cadgers' 
Field," was re-named " Emmet-place." l 

BRANCH BANKS in Sligo are of comparatively recent origin ; 
although to modern ideas it seems strange that business on any 
extensive scale could have been carried on without the medium 
of local banks. Formerly, large sums of money were trans- 
mitted by bills, and transactions of any great magnitude were 
negotiated by special messenger. The circulation of small coin 
was, however, quite as deficient as the means of transferring 
large amounts ; and, therefore, about the middle of the seven- 

1 For Financial statement see Appendix G. 

\_Toface page 172. 

Fig. 29. TOKEN STRUCK BY WALTER LYNCH, 1666. (Full size.) 

Fig. 30. TOKEN STRUCK BY JOHN SMITH. (Full size. 




- 34. "MONEY OF NECESSITY." (Half size.) 


teenth century, many persons assumed the privilege of issuing 
brass or copper tokens, their value varying from one to two 
pence. Subsequently these tokens were forbidden to be struck 
without special licence from the Crown. Still, for a time, 
they supplied a much- needed circulating medium for small 

Five specimens of these tokens have been previously de- 
scribed, but illustrations of fresh examples are given, as they 
differ somewhat in style. On several of these coins the coat- 
of-arms of the utterer was stamped, but on others there were 
trade-marks or appropriate emblems which referred to the 
name of the merchant or the locality in which he lived. Some 
further tokens have been discovered, from which it would seem 
that they had been struck not only in the town of Sligo, but 
also in country villages : 

(1.) WALTER LYNCH OF (armorial bearing of Lynch); reverse, SLIGO 

MARCHANT. w. L. 1666. (See fig. 29.) 
(2.) IOHN SMITH IN (a ship in a circle); reverse, SLIGOE MARCHANT. 

(A heart in a circle). (See fig. 30.) 
(3.) WILL. HVNTER OF (a hunter's horn in dotted circle); reverse, 

SLIGO MARCHAN. (i. D. and two stars in a dotted circle. 

(See&g. 31.) 
(4.) WILLIAM CRAFORD (a harp) ; reverse, OF SLIGOE MARCH, (w. c. i. D. 

in dotted circle). (See fig. 32.) 
(5.) IOHN CONYNGHAME (a bird) ; reverse, MERCH T IN SLIGO 

(a bird). 
(6.) ARCHIBOLD cvNiNGHAM (a merchant's mark); reverse, MERCHT. 

IN SLIGO. A. c. i. D. 1673. (See fig. 33.) 
(7.) THO. GOODIN MARCHANT (a castle) ; reverse, OF INESCRONE. 1663. 

i. D. 

(8.) HENNERY DOWDALL. H. D. ; reverse, OF COOLLVNY MARC. 1671. 
I. D. 

A curious example of a class of coins designated " Money 
of Necessity," or " Siege-pieces," was found some years ago at 
Killaspugbrone. It is an irregular polygon of silver, having 
19 dwt. 8 gr. stamped in a circle on the obverse and reverse 
(fig. 34), and was struck circa 1642. It is one of a series 
designated " Inchiquin Coins," aud represented 5s. Specimens 
are tolerably rare, and vary in price from 2 to 7 12s. 


About the year 1672 small change must have been scarce, 
for shortly after that date a great increase in the number of 
copper tokens is observable, whilst it would seem that, despite 
ordinances to the contrary, both copper and silver tokens were 
uttered in Ireland so late as 1727, value for twopence in copper, 
and fourpence in silver. 

French and Spanish coins of gold and silver were current, 
and many such are from time to time discovered in Sligo. Con- 
temporaneous travellers recount how the precious metals were 
placed in the scale to determine their value, and allowance made 
for any deficiency in weight. 

Specimens of the brass money issued by James II. are fre- 
quently found in the county, usually in or near old buildings ; 
for the brass half-crowns and some other coins were allowed to 
circulate for a time, but were quickly reduced to their proper 
commercial value of about one penny. 

In the year 1732 the credit of paper-money sustained a 
severe shock through the failures of some well-known Dublin 
banks ; therefore a bill was drawn up for relief of all the parties 
interested in the settlement, and sent over to be confirmed by 
the Privy Council of England the bankrupt laws not having 
been introduced into Ireland. The depreciation of paper caused 
a demand for silver and copper money, and the market was 
again flooded with the most curious variety of coin and forge- 
ries. In 1746 a great quantity of " base Eapparee halfpence" 
were in circulation throughout the county. 

It was not till well on in the present century that the 
currency was remodelled. The new silver coin got rapidly into 
circulation, superseding Bank of Ireland tokens struck from 
Spanish dollars, which were called in. 

Towards the commencement of the century French's Bank 
(County Galway) opened a branch in Sligo ; but after a time- 
it not having succeeded in obtaining free circulation for its 
notes the branch was withdrawn, and thus, upon the total 
collapse of the bank, Sligo escaped becoming involved in the 
serious losses incurred by many families in every grade of life 
throughout the counties of Mayo and Galway. A few notes 


of this bank are still preserved in Sligo as curiosities. They 
are, however, dated from Tuam. 

There occurred, also, several failures of small banks, by 
which the trade of Sligo was more or less affected. Amongst 
them was that of Messrs. M'Creery and Ballantyne, on the 
subject of which a ballad was written, commencing: 

" Kings, princes, and nations in wealth do decline, 
And why not M'Creery with sweet Ballantyne." 

A kind of small paper-money, called a ticket, or I. 0. TL, 
that ranged in nominal amount from threepence to six shillings, 
was issued by merchants, shopkeepers, and others. This cur- 
rency, although fictitious and objectionable on many grounds, 
yet enabled the people to carry on their business. A letter 
from Sligo, 28th April, 1797, states there were " no guineas 
in circulation, nothing but bank-notes, which will cause great 
confusion among the lower class of people." 

In 1800 "money and paper were equally current." Ac- 
cording to a report of the " Irish Exchange Committee," which 
was formed about four years subsequently, there was then no 
banker in Sligo, either in the town or county. In 1822, owing 
to the exceptional state of depression both in trade and agricul- 
ture, it was resolved at a meeting of the principal proprietors 
of the county that they would accept the notes of respectable 
private banks of Dublin in payment of their rents. This 
arrangement could not fail to lead to better prices for agricul- 
tural produce than the then limited circulation of paper-money 
would admit of, and also gave an impulse to business. 

Savings' Banks were established in Ireland in 1810, and 
the first of which a record has been found was " The Savings* 
Bank " for the benefit of the working-classes. The yearly 
accounts were published in the newspapers, and the directors 
would seem to have been gentlemen of local position. In June, 
1823, its state does not appear to have been flourishing, as it 
was alleged " that the Savings' Bank had not been open for 
some time. Upon inquiry as to the cause it was stated that 
there was no fund applicable for the payment of a clerk to keep 


the accounts." The bank was, as the following advertisement 
shows, re-opened shortly afterwards : 


" The Trustees, Directors, and Managers of the Sligo Savings Bank 
are requested to meet at the Court House on Monday next, the 4th 
August, at 3 o'clock, to elect a Treasurer for the ensuing year and to 
transact other business. By order. S. M'Creery, Sec. 

" N.B. The Bank will in future be held in a room adjoining the 
Excise Office, and will be open as usual from 10 till 12 o'clock on 
Mondays. Sligo, July 28th, 1823." 

A few statistics may be of interest : 



No. of 



No. of 



. 5,830, 


. 16,848, 

. 623 


. 8,954, 


. 18,341, 

. 646 


. 10,028, 


. 20,382, 

. 710 


. 12,141, 


. 5,362, 

. 251 


. 28,265, 

. 867 


. 6,125, 

. 269 


. 15,453, 

. 553 


. 10,595, 

. 504 


. 12,859, 

. 486 


. 16,146, 

. 684 


. 13,399, 

. 526 


. 19,735, 

. 963 


. 15,188, 

. 601 


. 24,575, 

. 1112 

Of the amount deposited in 1829, and therefore, presumably, 
in succeeding years, 2460 was for the encouragement of 
industry in the country, whilst "loan funds" seem to have 
been mixed up in the accounts until the year 1856, shortly after 
which the postal authorities appear to have taken over the 
management of the local savings'-bank, so that the earliest 
returns which could be procured, when compared with some of 
later date, show a great falling off in regard to the amount to 
credit of the depositors, as also in the number of the accounts ; 
but this is thought to be illusory. 

The Provincial Bank, the first Bank of issue established 
in Sligo, was opened 14th November, 1825, and the temporary 
business previously conducted in the locality was transferred 
to a house in Stephen-street, the following gentlemen being 
appointed local directors: 0. Wynne; William Faussett, 


Provost of Sligo; David Culbertson; B. Coyne, M.D., and 
Andrew Kelly. 

Most Banks, on first opening branches in country districts, 
intrusted the launching of the business to people who lived in 
the district, and were consequently acquainted with the financial 
circumstances of those likely to apply for facilities in promoting 
their undertakings. The notes of the bank were " payable at 
the house of Messrs. LaTouche & Co., Dublin." 

A strange incident is related with regard to the first ledgers 
in the office of this branch ; they were all stamped " Newry," 
having been intended for use in that town. Up to 1820 the 
Bank of Ireland alone was empowered to issue notes ; however, 
in that year other banks were permitted within a certain radius 
of Dublin, but it was not until 1845 that they were allowed to 
open in the city. The Provincial Bank had unsuccessfully 
essayed to establish a branch at Newry, so the books were 
transferred from the North to the West of Ireland. 

The official opening of the Sligo branch took place on the 
20th February, 1826, Mr. David Webster being the first 
manager. He was succeeded in August, 1838, by Mr. Ben- 
jamin Banks, who on the occasion of his leaving on promotion 
was presented with a public address and testimonials. Mr. 
M'Cullagh was then nominated acting manager until the ap- 
pointment of Mr. Malcolm Sinclair, who was succeeded in 
1847 by Mr. Richard Gordon, and he directed the business of 
this branch for thirty-six years, dying in 1883. The present 
manager, Mr. Alexander Maver, was his successor. 

The Provincial Bank being early in the field, succeeded in 
obtaining the country business. It is Treasurer for the County, 
for the Sligo Union, the Infirmary and Fever Hospital, and 
also for the Corporation. 

The present handsome edifice occupied by the Bank in 
Stephen-street was designed by Sir T. N. Deane, and erected 
at a cost of nearly 6000, It is in the Eenaissance style ; the 
front, which presents a fine appearance, is composed of Mount- 
Charles stone, the capitals of the pilasters and frieze being 



appropriately carved ; the sides and rear are of Ballysadare 
limestone, with dressings of Mount- Charles stone. 

The Agricultural and Commercial Bank opened a branch 
in the town about the year 1832. In November, 1836, there 
was a determined run made on it ; the branch closed a few days 
after, was re-opened in January, 1837, and on 19th June, 1840, 
it finally ceased to transact business. 

The National Bank also opened a branch in Sligo. In 
November, 1840, there was a run on it which was defeated, but 
shortly afterwards the branch was withdrawn. 

THE BANK OF IRELAND (created circa 1783) had a com- 
plete monopoly of banking business for nearly forty years. 
According to its charter, no one individual was permitted to 
possess in it more than 10,000 in shares, and amongst the 
seven subscribers who alone contributed the maximum amount 
appears the name of the Eight Hon. Joshua Cooper. The 
Bank of Ireland first issued " dollars " marked " Bank Token ; " 
then bank tokens were issued by the Treasury to the Bank of 
Ireland ; they were of silver, value for 5d., lOd, and 30d., to 
answer as change for 1, twenty-four lOd. tokens being 
fractionally less than twenty shillings. The copper coins 
consisted of pence, half-pence, and farthings, 13d. being equal 
to Is. British. 

It is doubtful if the Bank of Ireland would have established 
a branch in Sligo had it not been for the energetic position 
taken up by the Provincial Bank. The following advertisement 
announced the opening of the branch : 

" Bank of Ireland. The undermentioned agents for conducting a 
branch of the Bank of Ireland in Sligo, will commence business in their 
office on The Mall, on Monday the 7th instant for the discounting of 
Bills and other Banking transactions. 

" January 3rd, 1828. RICHAED 


Messrs. Gethin & Dodwell were succeeded in 1834 by Mr. 


John Craig ; in 1837 he was transferred to Cork, and was re- 
placed by Mr. James Duncan, who being superannuated in 1870, 
Mr. K. J. Howley (the present agent) was appointed. 

The newly-erected Bank and agent's residence stand on 
the site of the old premises in Stephen- street. The building 
is classic in design, having Ionic columns and pilasters of 
polished Aberdeen granite for the two porches, supporting 
Mount-Charles sandstone frieze, cornice, and balustrade. The 
dressing to all the upper floor windows, also the moulded quoins, 
and cantaliver eave- course for roof, are of chiselled sandstone, 
the moulding being of a bold, decided character. The regular 
face (ashlar work) is of chiselled limestone from Ballysadare. 
Little or no carving has been introduced except for caps to 
columns and pilasters. 

The agent has a commodious residence, quite separate from 
the banking department. Messrs. Millar & Symes (Architects 
to the Bank of Ireland) were the designers of the building. 

THE ULSTER BANK opened a branch in Sligo, 7th Decem- 
ber, 1861, under the management of Mr. James Daniel Mitchell, 
who was succeeded in September, 1863, by Mr. Robert M'Cullagh, 
and he, in turn, was replaced in 1875 by Mr. George Heron, 
who died April, 1889, since which date the Bank has been under 
the management of Mr. John C. Quin. The present handsome 
building was erected in the years 1862-3, at a cost of somewhat 
over 5000. There is also a branch in Ballymote in charge 
of Mr. Tew. 

The handsome banking edifices here described as situate in 
the town of Sligo, are all in the same street, so that the conun- 
drum propounded nearly fifty years ago in the pages of The 
Cryptic, with regard to Stephen-street, is still applicable to the 
locality, viz. that it resembles a canal because it has a bank on 
both sides ! 

In the village of Tubbercurry a branch of the Hibernian 
Bank has been lately opened. 

THE POLICE BARRACKS are now situated on Albert-road and 

N 2 


in Wine-street. On the incorporation of the present police- 
force in the year 1823, no house in Sligo could be procured 
suitable for a barrack, and the force seems to have occupied 
houses in different localities. The barrack on the Albert-road 
was not erected until the year 1847, or the barrack in Wine- 
street until 1880 ; there are 28 policemen in the former and 
11 in the latter. 

At the close of the last and commencement of the present 
century law and order were enforced in the county by a " chief 
constable " in every barony, who had under him eight " sub- 
constables " (Corran and Coolavin were, however, reckoned for 
this purpose as one district), or a total of 45 men. In the 
year 1806, owing to the disturbed state of the county, particularly 
in the barony of Tireragh, where the burning of crops and stack- 
yards was an almost nightly occurrence, four additional constables 
were appointed to each barony or district, making a total of 65. 
Most of these received pensions on the creation of the present 

In 1888 the police force in the county consisted of a county 
inspector, 4 district inspectors, 5 head constables, and 252 
sergeants and constables a total of 263 ; this establishment is 
at the ratio of 23 per 10,000 of the population, which is about 
the average number, for Limerick heads the list at 39 per 10,000 
inhabitants, Londonderry and Antrim having but 10 and 11, 
respectively. The succession of county inspectors, as far as can 
be ascertained, was as follows : Captain Tracy ; Captain 
Lawson; J. Stoker; T. M'Mahon ; A. S. Waters; M. 
Bloxham; T. Boss; H. A. Allen. 

Mr. Eobert Curtis was one of the first officers of the force 
appointed to the County Sligo. In after years he published 
two volumes of his reminiscences, entitled " The Irish Police 
Officer " and " Curiosities of Detection." The latter work is 
dedicated to E. J. Cooper, of Markree. The locus of most of 
these tales lies in the County Sligo, and they are all founded 
upon facts that occurred within Mr. Curtis' own knowledge. 

The question of endeavouring to induce Government to 
erect, in a central position, a suitable building, in which all the 


public offices in the town of Sligo could be concentrated, is one 
well worthy of being brought under notice. If the subject 
were judiciously and energetically followed up, what has been 
done in other towns of less importance in Ireland might be 
carried out in Sligo. None of the Governmental departments, 
Excise, Customs, Post, Income-tax, &c., are sufficiently accom- 
modated, and most of the offices are situated in private houses, 
all of them widely apart a great inconvenience to anyone 
having business in each. 

The want of a morgue or dead-house in Sligo has long been 
a grievance, the publicans naturally disliking to have a corpse 
carried into their premises, although under legal obligation 
to permit it. On 5th August, 1885, the Council resolved to erect 
a place for temporary depositing of the dead, but the resolution 
not having been acted on, the only place which can be used at 
present for the purpose is (as authorized by the resolution of 
the Council, 8th May, 1878) the engine- shed at the Town Hall, 
or the public-house nearest to where the corpse is found. 

In January, 1847, the Council decided on the erection of 
Public Baths and Washhouses ; the resolution, however, was 
not carried out. Again, in October, 1856, the Act (9 & 10 
Viet.) for promoting the voluntary establishment of these useful 
institutions was adopted, and after inquiry as to the working of 
the Act in other boroughs, it was determined, in November, 
1856, that an application should be made for the loan of 900, 
for erection of baths in Sligo. This resolution, together with 
those previously passed, remained a dead letter, though sup- 
ported by the lively interest taken in the town by Lord 
Palmerston, who had allocated a plot of ground for the pro- 
posed purpose. 

In 1866 Dr. James Tucker was himself so certain of the 
success of the projected plan, that he started baths on a small 
scale, but they proved a failure chiefly owing to the incon- 
venient situation in which they had been placed. The project 
was again brought forward in 1867, when a petition was 
forwarded to Government, praying for a grant of 2000 for the 
purpose of carrying out the Sanitary Act, as well as to erect 


baths, washhouses, and disinfecting chambers. Nothing, 
however, has since been done in the matter. 

In olden days Sligo was better protected against sudden 
outbreaks of fire than at present. From 1760 to 1874 a fire- 
engine was kept in a room adjoining the house of the sexton of 
St. John's Church, and the man in charge was under obligation 
to play the engine at certain times, on the old bridge, in full 
view of the public, with the object of demonstrating practically 
that it was in working order. It was not, however, until 1881, 
that the Corporation sanctioned the formation of a fire-brigade, 
to be under their control ; the services of fifty of the inhabitants 
of Sligo, who volunteered to act without remuneration, were 
accepted ; and on May 3rd of same year they were granted the 
use of the town engine, hose, and fire-escape, for the purpose of 
practice ; 75 was voted to supply the brigade with helmets, 
axes, and all the usual appliances needful. The fire brigade 
no longer exists (owing to a disagreement with the Council), and 
there is no organized mode of extinguishing fires in the town. 

THE COUNTY CLUB, in Wine-street, was started in 1879 ; and 
the CONSTITUTIONAL CLUB, in Stephen-street, which was founded 
December, 1881, now numbers about 160 members ; the nume- 
rous rooms are well-furnished, and the attractions of a daily 
service of telegrams and a large billiard-room help annually to 
augment the membership. 

THE GAS COMPANY was established in 1840. In the year 
1839 Mr. James Colquhoun, C.E. (formerly of Sheffield), visited 
Sligo for the purpose of erecting gas-works and lighting the 
town. With that object he obtained premises in Wine-street, 
but not being able to procure funds for completing the works 
he called several public meetings of the inhabitants of Sligo 
during the years 1839 and 1840 to take into consideration a 
proposal for forming a Company to carry out and complete the 
lighting of the town, the capital stock to be 600, divided into 
10 shares. The preliminaries were arranged, and the trust deed 
was signed on May 29th, 1840. The first committee of manage- 


ment were James Madden, Peter O'Connor, Bichard Anderson, 
William Kernaghan, and Edward Kelly, all of the town of 
Sligo. James Madden was elected chairman and Peter O'Connor 
deputy-chairman. Mr. Colquhoun agreed to superintend the 
completion of the gas-works and to conduct the working, as 
farmer or tenant of the company, for a term of seven years. 
For a lengthened period the working of the company gave 
great dissatisfaction to the public, but latterly, under the new 
management, affairs are better conducted. 

THE CEMETERY is now in charge of the Corporation of Sligo. 
Although from the year 1832 burials within the precincts of 
the borough had been positively injurious to the public health, 
yet no steps were taken to provide a suitable locality for the 
purpose until the famine of 1846 and the pestilence which 
followed again brought the subject into general notice. A 
numerous deputation from the town of Sligo, headed by the 
clergy of all denominations, the Mayor, Corporation, and Town 
and Harbour Commissioners, officers of health, &c., waited on 
the Grand Jury assembled at summer assizes, 1846, to represent 
the crowded state of the burial grounds in the town, and the 
injury arising therefrom to the public health. 

On December 1st, 1846, the Town Council expressed their 
willingness " to let a portion of the Commons, i. e. about four 
Irish acres, for the purpose of a cemetery for the public of all 
denominations," and on January 7th, 1847, " The Widow 
Tuohy's Field," part of the " Commons Plot," was thus appro- 
priated, whilst on July 28th of the same year, in compliance 
with a communication from Government, the deed by which 
the cemetery was to be constituted was submitted to the 
clergymen of all denominations. On August 21st, 1848, it 
was further proposed to make a transfer of the cemetery to the 
following trustees : John Wynne, Esq. ; the Protestant and. 
Eoman Catholic Eectors ; and clergymen for the time being 
of all religious denominations ; and on November 25th, 1848, 
the Lords Commissioners of the Treasury granted permission 
to set apart three and a-half acres for the purpose. 


On May 4th, 1860, a Committee of Inquiry into the working 
of the cemetery was appointed, and on December 22nd, 1884, 
the then managing committee handed over their charge to the 
Sligo Corporation, who accepted it as the urban sanitary 
authority under the provisions of the Public Health (Ireland) 
Act of 1878. 

THE SLIGO WATERWORKS. As a general principle the water 
supply from superficial wells has been abandoned in almost 
every large town, and all competent authorities who have 
written on the subject, and whose opinions should bear weight, 
have decried the system of supplying a town with water from a 
superficial and therefore easily contaminated source. 

It was calculated that in 1868 there were sixty-seven sewers 
in Sligo, emptying into the river above the Victoria bridge ; and 
if, in the middle of summer, there chanced to be a long con- 
tinuance of dry weather, there was, according to one authority, 
not a drop of drinkable water available in the town, and men, 
with horses, and carts containing barrels, distributed water 
from door to door, selling it by the gallon. 

Sligo being built upon the mountain limestone (opened and 
fissured rock), there can be little doubt that all the wells in the 
town, judging from the quantity of salt which the analysis 
displays, communicated more or less with the sea ; they also 
suffered by infiltrations from the sewers, as evidenced by the 
quantity of nitrate of ammonia contained in the water : indeed, 
a great leakage must have taken place from drains, and 
" to such an extent, that in one well (the Pound- well) the con- 
stituents of that water were practically the same as you might 
expect to find in a grave-yard." 

In August, 1866, the following notice was posted up by 
order of the Mayor : "It appears that the worst water in the 
town is that in old Pound-street ; next to that, the Lungy and 
Chapel-lane pump. The water in all the other pumps is com- 
paratively pure, though hard ; the railway water and the Eath- 

braghan water are bad In the present state of the public 

health, and when threatened with epidemic disease (cholera), 


the inhabitants should be particularly cautious. It is recom- 
mended that the water should be boiled before drinking." 

This notice was occasioned by the analysis made by Dr. 
Aldridge, of seventeen samples of water submitted to him. 

Had there been no objection on the ground of organic im- 
purities and pollutions to the various wells, the extreme hardness 
of the waters alone was a grave objection to their fitness for 
general daily use. Water of over twelve degrees of hardness is 
not considered suitable for domestic purposes, whilst that of the 
Sligo wells was said to exceed twenty-five ; and it was therefore 
necessary to introduce into the Borough Improvement Bill a 
clause authorizing the erection of waterworks. Although in 
the Act of 40 Greo. III., provision was made for supplying Sligo 
" with pipe-water, &c.," yet the subsequent Act of 1803 re- 
pealed these powers. To strengthen their case, the Corporation 
sent samples from Sligo wells, and also from the proposed new 
supply, toH.K.Bamber, F.C.S., for analysis, and for production 
before the House of Commons. 

The substances included by Mr. Bamber in inorganic matter 
were, carbonate of lime, sulphate of lime, carbonate and sul- 
phate of magnesia, common salt, &c. ; the substances included 
in organic and other volatile matter were, vegetable and animal 
matter, ammonia, and some of the nitrates. The Albert-street 
and Lungy pumps were pronounced unfit for use, from hardness 
and organic matter, &c. ; Pound- street pump was recommended 
to be immediately closed. Greorge's-street pump was as bad, 
whilst three samples from other wells were not even analyzed, 
" as their appearance self-condemned them " ; Kilsellagh and 
Doonally water was stated to be very good. 

According to the Sligo Borough Improvement Bill of 1869, 
the Corporation were authorized to borrow 25,000 for the 
purpose of constructing waterworks ; and on September 1st of 
that year, were taken the first steps towards raising the money 
necessary for carrying out the scheme : the effort, however, 
collapsed, and after a general meeting of the ratepayers had 
decided against proceeding with the waterworks, the matter 
although then set aside, was, nevertheless, from time to time, 



revived by various engineers who propounded many fantastic 
ideas with regard to the mode of supplying Sligo with water 
such as a deep central well, with engine-power a supply from 
Lough Gill by the same means ; and, lastly, windmills to be 
erected on the summit of Cairns' Hill, in order to force up 
water from the Lake to a reservoir to be there constructed ! 

The powers of the Bill of 1869 were allowed to lapse, and 
in 1876, on a petition being presented to the Local Government 
Board, they gave the Corporation a provisional order, but dis- 
covering that it was ultra vires, they revoked it, and the Council 
were compelled to procure a short Act of Parliament to revive 
their powers. Finally, a tender for construction of the reser- 
voirs, &c., for a sum of 14,000, together with another for 
iron piping, &c., amounting to about 4000, were accepted in 
1881, and Mr. William Cochrane, C.E., was appointed Eesident 
Engineer. The first water-rate of Is. in the was struck, 
June 28th, 1882 ; and on November 13th, 1884, the waters 
were formally turned on from the storage reservoir, after the 
lapse of eighteen years from the period of the first Parlia- 
mentary notice of the Borough Improvement Bill (see fig. 35). 


Fig. 35. Plan of the Storage Reservoir. By permission of Mr. Hassard, the 


The original estimate for completion of the works was 
upwards of 19,000 ; the actual outlay was under 18,000, 
and to Leslie Creery, C.E., clerk of the works, the best 
thanks of the Council were voted " for the able way in 


which he had superintended the carrying out of the plans." 
The water supply for the town is taken from a catchment 
area in the neighbouring mountainous district, having a mean 
elevation of 950 feet above the sea and situate between the 
counties of Leitrim and Sligo. The drainage from this district 
is carried off by two streams or rivers, the Doonally river, the 
catchment basin of which is 1315 acres, and the Kilsellagh 
stream, with an area of 628 acres ; the latter falls into the 
Doonally river, and both together flowing by Doonally House 
and Eathbraghan discharge into the sea about a mile north of 
the town. The total drainage ground, therefore, from which 
the flow can be utilized is 1940 acres, and taking the average 
available rainfall in the district as thirty inches, the daily flow 
off the ground would be 3,637,500 gallons, of which only about 
400,000 are daily required for town use, thus leaving the 
balance to be stored in the reservoir or allowed to run down the 
stream. On the west side of the reservoir there is a third 
stream the Carrowlustia having a drainage catchment of 350 
acres ; as most of this area, however, is of a peaty character, 
the water from it is not allowed to enter the reservoir, but is 
diverted and flows round the south side of the reservoir, falling 
into the Doonally river just below the embankment. 

The principal works in connexion with the water supply 
are the (1) impounding or storage reservoir on the Doonally 
and Kilsellagh streams, with its flood water-course, embank- 
ment, outlet- tower, waste- weir, &c. ; (2) the piping to the relief 
tanks and service-reservoir; (3) the service-reservoir and the 
works of distribution through the town. 

On the Doonally and Kilsellagh streams the storage reser- 
voir is constructed a little below their junction by throwing an 
earthen embankment across the gorge, and the ground was 
prepared to receive this embankment by stripping off all the 
soft material from where it was to rest, then sinking a trench 
to the solid water-tight clay along its centre, and filling it with 
puddle to the level of the ground a puddle- wall being carried 
up thence to nearly the summit. The most adhesive material 
was laid on either side of this puddle wall, and the whole bank 


was brought up to its full height in layers about two feet 

The inner slope (three horizontal to one perpendicular) was 
pitched with stone laid on edge, and the outer slope (two hori- 
zontal to one perpendicular) was sodded, and a gravelled foot- 
way made along the top. In the south-western angle the waste 
weir, sixty feet long, was built in order to carry off the overflow 
from the reservoir ; it is coped with ashlar stones cramped 
together, and over this the water falls into the by wash or 
channel constructed from the south end of the reservoir to 
the Doonally stream, and having a pitched invert set on a 
bed of concrete. Near the inner foot of the embankment 
stands the outlet- tower, from the bottom of which the supply 
pipe to the sluice-house, and the emptying pipe, both run 
through the outlet-culvert. The tower is of masonry about 
forty- eight feet high, and provided with openings that can be 
closed by sluice-valves, at three different heights, so that water 
for the supply may be drawn off from three distinct levels in 
the reservoir. These sluices, as well as the stop-plugs for 
closing the supply and the emptying pipes in the bottom are 
worked from a platform at the summit of the tower ; from the 
top of the bank this platform is reached by an iron foot-bridge 
in two spans and having a pier in the centre that is carried 
down to the solid ground. In connexion with the tower is the 
outlet-culvert for containing the pipes from the tower, which 
supply the town and empty the reservoir. This culvert is built 
in the solid ground below the puddle trench , and it is of 
masonry in cement mortar, surrounded by concrete on the inner 
and by puddle on the outer side of the bank, the concrete having 
at intervals projecting ribs in order to prevent the creep 
of water along its surface. From the bottom of the tower, 
through this culvert two lines of pipes, nine inches in diameter, 
are laid to the sluice-house ; on one of these is a short branch 
with a valve so that this may discharge into the river if necessary. 
The flood water-course in the Doonally stream commences about 
fifty yards above the reservoir, and runs along its northern side. 
Below this point, a barrier of stone is placed across the bed of 


the river, in order to direct the water from the stream into the 
water-course, and in the barrier are placed inlet shuttles for ad- 
mitting or excluding the water from the reservoir. The channel 
from its commencement to the aqueduct by which it is carried 
over the Killsellagh stream, has sides of masonry in cement 
mortar, and bottom-pitching set on concrete. The aqueduct 
is a semicircle of masonry, having parapets that are lined with 
concrete, in order to make a water-tight channel. The Kilsel- 
lagh stream (which has also a dam and inlet-sluice, similar to 
that described) is diverted at a short distance from this aque- 
duct, and its flood water-course joins the Doonally channel ; 
thence they both flow in the same course to a point just below 
the bank, where the channel has an inclination of one in six, 
and is broken up by cross-walls into a succession of cataracts. 
These cross- walls are of masonry in cement, and are coped with 
ashlar-stones, dowelled together with a double row of iron 

The water-course for the Carrowlustia stream commences 
above the reservoir, and is carried along the hill-side to the 
southern end of the main bank, where it joins the waste water- 
course from the reservoir. This stream is entirely excluded 
from the reservoir. 

From the sluice-house to the relief-tank near Drumkilsellagh 
Bridge, there is a line of 7-inch pipes, carrying the supply from 
the reservoir. The relief-tank is a small basin of masonry 
situate near the road, and it is walled round. Thence to the 
service-reservoir on Farrencardy Hill, the water is conveyed in 
a line of 8-inch pipes, provided with all needful air- valves, &c. 
This reservoir is a large tank, formed partly by excavation in 
the solid ground, and partly by embankments ; these are ren- 
dered water-tight by puddle, and the inside faces are protected 
by stone-pitching. The water is admitted to the inlet- well by 
the pipe from the relief -tank, and by the 9-inch outlet pipe to 
a drain constructed in the pitched- slope of the bank. In the 
centre of the bottom of the reservoir there is a cleansing pit, 
and from this a 9-inch stoneware pipe leads to another pit 
situated at the bottom of the straining-tower ; from this latter 


is laid a cast-iron cleansing pipe. The straining tower is of 
masonry, having near the bottom three outlets, in front of 
which are placed wire-gauze strainers in oak frames ; through 
these the water is admitted to the interior of the tower ; they 
can be moved at pleasure, and are counterbalanced by weights 
that are suspended in the interior of the tower, and are connected 
with the strainers by chains passing over pulleys hung in the 
upper part of the walls. From this tower to the sluice-pit which 
is a masonry tower built in the centre of the bank of the reser- 
voir is placed the sluice on the line of pipes that lead to the 
town, and which terminates in Stephen-street, opposite New 
Bridge-street. From this line in which are placed two scouring 
cocks, the water is distributed through the town in pipes that 
vary in diameter from eight to three inches, and are provided 
with street wells, and fire-plugs or hydrants. Sluice-cocks also 
are placed in the pipes, so that in case repairs should be requi- 
site, the water may be shut off from the various streets or dis- 
tricts; and provision is also made for supplying the town 
directly from the Doonally Reservoir, in the event of its being 
for any purpose necessary to empty the Service Reservoir. 
Within the last five years the waterworks have realized a net 
profit of nearly 1,500. In May, 1890, the accounts showed 
a clear profit of 546, so that financially, it is hoped, the 
enterprise may prove to be eventually a decided success. The 
actual supply of water is abundant, and would be sufficient to 
meet the requirements of a town of 50,000 inhabitants.* 

* The Engineer, 1881, pp. 160-2. 



HE historians of ancient Erin inform us that there 
were roads leading through all the provinces of 
the kingdom ; yet thick woods extended over 
vast districts of the country, and in none were 
they more numerous than in the present County Sligo. 
Like the Eomans, the Anglo-Normans were great road- 
makers. One of the " Bed Earl's " first works in the 
county was the construction of a road over the Curlew mountains 
to his newly-erected stronghold at Ballymote, and which is still 
styled by the country people Bothar-an-Iarla-Ruaidh, or the Eed 
Earl's road. Until comparatively recent times it was the ancient 
route to Sligo over " the craggy mountain of the Curlews." 
In many places it can still be traced, and seems to have re- 
sembled the mule tracks yet to be seen in Spain. It was 
constructed, most probably, on the ancient trail followed by 
invaders of Sligo from the direction of Boyle, and where, in 
the defile of the mountains, a celebrated battle was fought in 
the year 504. From this date down to even so late as the 
Eevolution of 1688, it was the line on which many important 
movements of troops took place, and it may be considered one 
(perhaps the only one) of the really ancient roads through the 
county. In addition there was the track followed by O'Donnel 
from Tirconnell, that by which O'Eorke could invade Sligo, and 
the route from Ballina to Ballysadare. 

Lithgow, a travelled Scotchman, in his quaint account of 
journeyings through Ireland in 1619-1620, when describing 
the general state of the tracks, states they could not be desig- 
nated roads that he traversed ; and he was of opinion that there 
were more rivers, lakes, brooks, strands, quagmires, bogs, and 


marshes in Ireland than in all Christendom besides ; for tra- 
velling there in the winter his daily progress was rendered 
disagreeable through his horse constantly sinking to the girths 
in the boggy roads, and his saddle and saddle-bags were utterly 
destroyed. He was often compelled to cross streams by swim- 
ming his horse ; in five months he foundered six horses, and 
felt himself in the end as worn out as any of his steeds. 

In a work published so late as 1690, Ireland is described as 
without roads in many parts ; and numerous districts of Sligo 
must at the time have come under this description. Till the 
last quarter of the eighteenth century the Irish bar, when on 
oircuit, travelled on horseback. "The Crown prosecutor, re- 
joicing in a good jailful ; the leading chiefs, their saddle-bags 
brimming with record-briefs. The gay and sanguine juniors, 
reckless and lighthearted, came riding into the town the day 
before the assizes in as close order as a regiment of cavalry ; 
holsters in front of their saddles, overcoats strapped in tight 
rolls behind ; mounted servants following with saddle-bags full 
of black gowns and law-books; barefooted suttlers tramping 
behind with stores of wine and groceries ; a mile or two from 
the town the gentlemen of the Grand Jury came riding out to 
vociferously welcome the newcomers." 

In olden times the construction of roads consisted merely in 
the deposit of a layer of stones of varying sizes and geological 
formation, according to the district through which they passed. 
Some of these boulders became disintegrated from the effects of 
traffic and of the weather, whilst some did not. The jolting 
sensation experienced by passengers conveyed in the cumbrous 
early coaches was both disagreeable and fatiguing. It was 
not until Macadam (in the early part of this century) revo- 
lutionized the formation of roads by the use of finely-broken 
stones instead of rough boulders, that the even surface pre- 
sented by means of this invention enabled carriages to be con- 
structed in a lighter manner ; for vehicles of the present day 
would have, quickly gone to pieces on the rough primitive cause- 
ways. Occasionally spots on the road might be described as 
simply quagmires. A gentleman once stood gazing at his vehicle 


and wondering how he could get it across a difficult spot ; but 
just then up drove the stage-coach, dashing and splashing, 
rolling and floundering. Finally it crawled out of this slough 
of despond, one moving mass of mud, seemingly devoid of shape 
or form. Wesley (the founder of Methodism), travelling in 
Sligo, circa 1777, describes how his post-chaise was held fast in 
a slough on a road, how he himself was carried over the morass 
on the shoulders of a stalwart peasant, and the delay and 
difficulty experienced, until by help of the assembled crowd the 
coach was at length by sheer brute force hauled to the right 
side of the quagmire. 

In 1612 it was essayed to call into play parochial organiza- 
tion for the repair and maintenance of roads, bridges, &c., but 
the attempt failed ; and this soon became apparent, for we find 
a more systematic endeavour to regulate the interior communi- 
cations of the kingdom was made in 1634, when a statute was 
passed directing that the Justices on circuit should make inquiry 
respecting broken or ruined bridges, dilapidated roads, &c. ; and 
the Grand Jury was empowered to tax the inhabitants. These 
powers were, by degrees, extended and regulated until they 
came to be of a very comprehensive character. The primitive 
manner of effecting the necessary repairs was by the enforced 
labour of householders. "He who had a horse was obliged to 
work six days in the year, himself and horse; he who had 
none, was to give six days' labour." This was found to press 
unduly on the poor, and was changed into a money assessment. 

In 1836 the road-powers which had been the exclusive 
prerogative of the Grand Jury were, to a great extent, vested in 
special sessions of magistrates, associated with a certain number 
of the highest payers of county cess in each barony. To special 
sessions all applications respecting works to be undertaken 
must be now submitted in the first instance ; those passed must 
be then brought before the Grand Jury, who, by a majority, 
approve or reject them. 

Of roads, as we have them now, there were none, and even 
the central lines of traffic were few and badly kept. Journeys 
to Dublin and distant parts of the country could only be 


accomplished on foot or on horseback ; and travellers took care 
to start well armed for fear of marauders, who were then desig- 
nated wood-kerns, rapparees, and tories. In later times the 
newspapers were full of accounts of these depredators. One 
example taken from the Dublin Mercury of 22nd November, 
1770, will suffice. Information was given to the Bishop of 
Elphin that a noted robber named James Teige, " was at a 
shebeen-house near this town, on which he applied to William 
Casy, Esq., our worthy active magistrate, who went with two 
of the bishop's servants and took said Teige. He had concealed 
arms, and had been a terror to this place and the Counties of 
Leitrim and Sligo for these two years past." 

Probably one of the first roads made in the county was that 
leading from Sligo to Boyle. 1 It ran through the Slieve-da-en 
Mountains by a pass to the east of Ballygawley Lake, where 
its track is yet distinctly visible ; thence by Doonamurry, 
over Eush-hill, and through Riverstown, Castlebaldwin, and 
the Bed Earl's path over the Curlew Mountains. Parts of 
this road are yet to be seen near Castledargan, in Rusheen, 
Castlebaldwin, and Doonaveeragh. It would seem to have 
been roughly paved. 

In an itinerary made in the year 1777 the road from 
Sligo to Boyle is shown as following a high level, passing near 
Oakfield, and debouching on the present line at the village of 
Ballysadare, from whence it took very much the same direction 
as the present highway. It is still in use as a by-road. 

Possibly what is known as the lower road from Sligo to 
Balliua, along the sea-shore in the barony of Tireragh, occupies 

1 The description of the more modern roads is mainly furnished by C. B. 
Jones, M.I.C.E. the present County Surveyor, appointed to that office on the 
death of Mr. St. Leger, who in 1836 succeeded Mr. Dubourdieu. Before the 
creation of this post, the repairs to, and the making of, new roads, or other 
public works were superintended by gentlemen who resided in the immediate 
vicinity of the projected work, and who when thus appointed by the Grand 
Jury were styled "Overseers"; these were the nominal contractors -although 
the contract was generally sublet and they were responsible to the Grand 
Jury for the due performance of the undertaking. There was also a paid 
*' Conservator of the roads " appointed for each barony. 


the track of a Hue as old perhaps as the Boyle road. This 
" lower road " must, however, have been either improved or 
made at a very early date, as the milestones, many of which 
are still in existence on it, are of very primitive type. 1 

The road from Sligo to Ballyshannon probably occupies the 
track or path by which the northern invaders made their incur- 
sions on Sligo. The old milestones on it are similar to those on 
the Tireragh line before mentioned. This road, in ancient 
times, crossed the strand from the Castle of Court to Kintogher, 
but it was subsequently brought round by Rathcormick, Old 
Tullyhill, and Shannon. The road passed originally through 
the village of Carney to the cross-roads at Cashelgarron, and 
thence to Grange ; but about the commencement of the present 
century this line was altered, and taken from Drumclif? Bridge 
by Milltown and Mullaghnaneane. There are also in many 
parts of the county old roads which were evidently laid out at a 
very early period and with a fine disregard of gradients, as 
they seemed to pass over the highest and steepest hills that 
could be found ; possibly many of these had been early horse- 
paths, or tracks merely widened and then stoned or paved ; 
some of them are still in use. 

When carriages or wheeled vehicles came to be more gene- 
rally employed, the road to Boyle over the mountains was found 
to be too steep, and the road from Sligo to Ballydrihed by 
Cloverhill was made. It would seem to have passed thence 
through Ballysadare, Collooney, and Knockbeg old village ; 
by Heathfield and Earlsfield to Ballymote ; from this it most 
likely took the old direction by Battlefield over the Curlews to 
Boyle. Sign-boards bearing peculiar inscriptions invited the 
wayfarer within the precincts of roadside inns ; one of these, 
situated in the village of Balliuafad, at the foot of the Curlew 
Mountains, bore the invitation : 

" Friends, slip in and take a gill, 
'Twill serve to help you up the hill." 

The road from Collooney to Boyle, by Tubberscanavan and 

1 It is shown on the map of 1778. 


Ballinafad, was constructed about the beginning of this century, 
and from time to time alterations and diversions were made on 
it with a view of getting better gradients, the principal being 
the road from Sligo to Bally drilled by Carrowroe and the Cur- 
ragli, and a new line over the Curlews. This road (at one time 
the great thoroughfare of the County), is now for a considerable 
part of its length almost deserted, owing to the traffic being 
diverted by the railroad. 

" Everywhere throughout this county," writes Mac Parian 
in 1802, "the roads and bridges are in a good state, with not 
very many exceptions. Ten miles of a mail-coach road, very 
broad and level, and directed towards Boyle so as to avoid 
hills, are already made ; the remainder of the line to Boyle 
is presented and paid for. The mail-coach undertakers, after 
it is finished, will no doubt vie in contracting for keeping 
horses and every accommodation for running a mail-coach from 
Dublin to Sligo." 

Another of the old trunk-lines led from Collooney through 
Tubbercurry, Banada, and Kilmacteigue, over the mountains 
to Foxford and Castlebar. This road is still known as the 
" Circuit Road," * from the fact that the judges and members of 
the bar rode by it from Sligo to Castlebar when going circuit. 
There are yet some old men living who recollect this, and who 
saw soldiers, on the march to their quarters at Castlebar, encamp 
for the night near the village of Aclare. Near Banada, a road 
branched off to Ballina through " The Gap " by Lough Talt. 
Of this road, Neligan (1816) in his Statistical Account of 
Kilmacteige, relates that " a valuable improvement was made 
in this place through the exertions of a Captain O'Dowd, who 
possessed an estate of many thousand acres of these mountains, 
which were without inhabitants, . . . and which were nearly 
impassable to the active and barefooted natives. The immense 
rocks, steep hills, and deep caverns which everywhere presented 
themselves, formed as many difficulties as the passage of the 

1 In the presentment book of the Grand Jury (1805) it is styled the 
" Grand Circuit Road." The road from Boyle to Ballyshannon through Sligo 
is also designated " The Circuit Itoad." 


Alps did in former days. But this Hannibal, by labour and 
perseverance overcame them all, and has formed a road where 
a coach can pass conveying passengers " to and from Ballina- 
n,nd Castlerea. It appears a pity to dispel this romance, but 
Colonel Irwin, in his evidence before a Committee of the House 
of Commons, specially cites the improvement made in this dis- 
trict through the exertions of Captain O'Dowd, who induced 
the Grand Jury of the County to vote the money for the 
formation of this road aver " The Gap." The story naturally 

FIG. 36. Bearnas, or Gap of Loagh T alt,, as seen from the crannog. 

calls to mind the burlesque lines reputed to have been once 
posted up on a public structure : 

". . . of his great liberality and bounty 
Erected this bridge at the expense of the County." 

Writing, however, so late as 1835, Frazer remarks that this 
line was " not yet fit for travellers, nor was there an inn or 
even a stage house from Boyle to Ballina ... On leaving the- 
glen, the great boggy tract which stretches around the northern 
base of the Lurgan hills" so Frazer styles the range of the Ox 
Mountains " gradually discloses itself, and as we advance we 
command the whole plain from Ballina to Sligo, bounded on> 
the north by that great inlet of the ocean which comprehends- 


the bays of Killala, Sligo, and Donegal ; on the south by th( 
Lurgan hills ; on the west by the wild and lofty moorland 
ridges of Erris, which connect with the huge domical mountain 
of Nephin ; and on the east by the fertile and romantic hills, 
blending with the precipitous cliffs of Ben Bulben." 

The old road by Banada, and through Kilmacteigue, is still 
in use, but a new one has been made from Tubbercurry to 
Ballina by Mullany's Cross ; and those parts of the old road by 
Lough Talt, which are still used, have been widened and 
diverted where necessary in order to avoid hills. 1 

An old line went from Ballymote to Tubbercurry, by 
Oldrock, Buninadden, Eoadstown, and Chaffpool ; there was 
another from Ballymote to Boyle, by Battlefield, over the 
mountains. These trunk-lines, with many cross-roads con- 
necting them, are all shown on the map of the county made 
in 1819 ; the greater number of these are still used and kept in 

The most important road made in later times is that leading 
from Sligo to Ballina ; the new portion of this, left the old line 
at Tanrego, taking a direct course to Dromore West, and 
thence through the bogs to Ballina : it is about 27 miles in 
length, and was made about eighty years ago. 

The old road from Sligo to Ballyf arnon turned off from the 
Slieve-da-en road to Boyle, in the neighbourhood of Rusheen, 
and passed down by Rockbrook, St. James's Well, and along 
the foot of the mountains, through Tullymore to Greevagh, and 
Foyoges to Ballyf arnon. This road has been now for a long 
time unused ; the present line was probably made about 1820. 

An important branch from it was made by Mr. Nimmo at 
St. James's Well, over the mountains, for the purpose of opening 
up the coal-fields ; this is now much used for bringing down 
coal from the pits. 

1 The road leading from the main line to the ruins of the Abbey of 
Kilcumin (parish of Achonry) is called " Stirabout road," probably in 
allusion to its having been made, remodelled, or repaired, for the purpose 
of affording employment for the poor. It was so named, however, long prior 
to the famine of 1846. 


The old mail-coach road from Sligo to Ermiskillen leads 
through lovely scenery. In 1779 the tourist Beranger thus 
describes his impression of it : " All the mountains of Cavan, 
Monaghan, and Fermanagh, which we thought once high, are 
nothing in comparison to those we passed this day. We looked 
forward from the top of the first we ascended, and were aston- 
ished to see others as high before us, succeeding one another 
in chains, piled up so that no horizon could be seen. Thinking 
it impossible to pass over them, we fancied that we had strayed 
from the right road, and sent our Irish interpreter to inquire, 
who soon confirmed that we were to pass them ; but if we had 
the trouble to walk over them, we were amply repaid by the 
variety of charming prospects every hill afforded, particularly 
one where we had a distant view of Lough Gill, with its hills 
around it, and some of its wooded islands. I could not with- 
stand the temptation to take a sketch of it." 

Within the last fifty years many miles of useful roads have 
been made through various parts of the county, and there are 
now very few districts which are not opened up. 

The following statistics were given by Mr. Noblett St. 
Leger (County Surveyor) in the conclusion of his Report to the 
Grand Jury, Spring Assizes, 1845 : 

" I have made an abstract from the County books, from which it 
appears that there are now under contract in the barony of Tireragh, 
120 miles of road at an average of (?) 37s. 8^. per perch ; in the barony 
of Liney 140 miles averaging 5-%d. per perch; in Corran 79 miles 
averaging 4%d. per perch ; in Coolavin 30 miles averaging 4^d. per 
perch; in Tirerill 114 miles averaging 6^. per perch; and in the 
barony of Carbury 140 miles averaging 3f<#. per perch. There are 
also 31 miles of mail-coach road from Sligo to Ballina, averaging 
Is. l^d. per perch, 22 miles of same from Sligo to Boyle, at 3s. 3d. 
per perch, and 18 miles from Sligo to Berry at Is. l%d. per perch ^ 
making in all 697 miles of public roads- now nnder contract in the 
county at a cost of 6124." 

In the relief-works of 1880-1882, about forty-five miles of 
road were newly made or improved. 

The annexed Table will show the comparative mileage 
under repair at various periods. No statistics prior to 1827 



could be procured. The oldest presentment-book dates from 
1802, but computations made from it would be useless. 


Length of road 

Cost of 


Length of road 

Cost of 


237 miles, 


697 miles, 


























Consequent on the relief-works, 1845-1849, the extent of 
roads had been considerably increased ; but a great number of 
them were not kept in contract, and were allowed to fall into 
disuse. There are now nearly eighty miles of road in excess 
of those under contract in 1861, but the cost of maintaining 
them has diminished by about 1000. 

The oldest bridges now standing in the County are those of 
Bellarush, near the north end of Lough Arrow, and Drumcliff. 
No date can be assigned for the building of either, but from 
their narrow arches and style of masonry, they must have been 
long in existence. Possibly the bridge at Battlefield, on the 
old road leading from Ballymote to Boyle, was built about the 
same time, as well as Ardcree bridge, near Annaghmore. 

The present modern bridge at Ballysadare is much higher 
up the stream than its predecessor ; for the remains of an old 
bridge perhaps that erected in 1360 or in 1586 was. dis- 
covered when workmen were sinking the foundations for the 
eel-house, which is situated just over the last fall made by the 
river before mingling its waters with the tide. 

In recent years many handsome and substantial bridges 
have been built in the County ; of these the finest is the Victoria 
Bridge in the town of Sligo. It consists of five arches, each 
21 ft. in span, and is entirely of ashlar masonry. It replaced the 
eight-arched bridge which formerly spanned the river a little 
below the present structure. The entrances to the old bridge 
were narrow and" tortuous, and two vehicles were only just 
able to pass each other. A representation of it is given on the 
seal of the " Town and Harbour Commissioners " (see p. 124). 


On 1st May, 1846, the first stone of the Victoria Bridge was 
laid, with imposing ceremony, by the Mayor and Corporation, 
in presence of a large crowd of spectators, "a bottle of the 
genuine native being decapitated on the stone." 

Active operations were not commenced until the month of 
February, 1847. The cost of the bridge itself was 2017, and of 
the approaches to it 2226. This includes the sum of 1626 
granted to the owners of nine houses which were built on or 
near the old bridge making a total of 4243. The Victoria 
line, however, was not publicly opened until 26th June, 1852. 
It should be borne in mind that the expense of the Victoria 
Bridge and the approaches to it was defrayed by the Grand 
Jury of the County, as was likewise the cost of the widening 
of Wine-street, Quay-street, and other thoroughfares; and but 
for the passing of the " Sligo Improvement Bill " of 1869, an 
intercepting sewer would have been constructed (also by the 
Grand Jury) on each bank of the river. Mr. Noblett St. Leger 
(County Surveyor), stated in his evidence before a Committee 
of the House of Lords that the Grand Jury of the County had 
within the twenty years prior to 1869 spent 10,000 in widen- 
ing the streets of the town. 

The bridges of Annagh, over the river Moy ; of Carrow- 
cullen, on the road from the "Ladies' Brae "to Skreen ; of 
Aclare, Curry, and many others of less note, remain as monu- 
ments of Mr. St. Leger' s skill as an engineer. 

In August, 1877, the bridges of Cabragh and Enniscrone 
were destroyed by a sudden flood, and rebuilt at a cost of 
550 ; the bridge over the Easky river has been rebuilt 
at an expense of 700, and a new bridge over the river 
Owenbeg near the village of Billa was erected at a cost of 
500. There is only one iron bridge at present in the county ; 
during the relief-works of 1880-1881 it was erected over the 
river Moy, on the new road from Tubbercurry to Sessue. It is 
40 ft. clear span, and is composed of two lattice girders, sup- 
porting a floor of iron arched-plates covered with asphalt, and 
surfaced with gravel. There are about 17 tons of iron in it, 
and with the abutments the total cost was about 550. 


The record of the maintenance and repair of the streets of 
the town of Sligo, reaches back to an earlier date than the books 
of the Grand Jury. The first entry is made llth December, 
1711, when it was resolved that : 

"We, the Provost and free burgesses of the Borough aforesaid, 
being this day in Common Council assembled, for the good government 
of this Borough, have found it fitting and convenient that a Beadle 
be appointed to sweep the town clear and free from strange beggars. 
And we do hereby order that four pounds sterling be applotted upon 
the inhabitants of this borough for one year's salary and for the said 
buying a coat for a Beadle, and we do hereby also order and appoint 
that four pounds sterling be applotted upon the said inhabitants to pay 
a scavenger for carrying away the dirt out of the streets of the town 
(to the Commons belonging to the Borough) and for keeping the streets 
clear ; and we do also appoint that three pounds sterling be also ap- 
plotted upon the said inhabitants for the reimbursing Captain Gethin 
and Mr. John de Butt for money formerly paid by them for salary for 
him who served Beadle last of this Borough, and we do hereby order 
that the several sums as aforesaid be applotted by applotters to be 
named by the Provost. Witness our hands the day and year above- 

" JOHN BOOTH, Provost, &e." 

Every householder in the town was bound to repair the- 
street immediately in front of his residence : 

"June 24th, 1718. Whereas the streets of the Corporation are 
in several places out of repair, we therefore order that every person 
inhabiting in the said Borough shall, immediately on warning given 
them, repair the streets before their respective houses, as it shall be 
ordered by the undernamed persons, overseers of the said works, and 
in case they, or any of them, do refuse or neglect to do as the overseers- 
order them, that the overseers shall set men to work to do the same 
so neglected, and have power to distrain the persons so neglecting and 
appraise the distresses so taken, and dispose of according to law, and 
pay the workmen for doing said work and restore the overplus (if any 
be) to the persons so distrained. 

" Overseers: 
" The Provost for the time leing and the Burgesses" 

This order was again re-enacted on the 22nd July, 1723, 


and on 24th June, 1726 ; whilst on 12th December, 1727, a 
sweeper and scavenger were appointed : 

" We the Provost and Burgesses of the said Borough assembled 
together do find that there is a Ballower [this term is evidently de- 
rived from the French word balayeur, i. e. a sweeper] and scavenger 
much wanting in the said Borough. "We do therefore order and present 
the sum, six pounds sterling for each, be applotted and levied off the 
said Borough at large, to furnish the said Borough with a Ballower 
and scavenger," &c. 

On 14th November, 1737, the order was again re-enacted : 
householders " to sweep the streets to the middle of the crown- 
causeway opposite their houses," all manure put out to be re- 
moved at once ; in default, the persons were liable to a fine not 
exceeding 2s. Qd. for each offence. 

In 1769 the sum of 77 was laid out in repairing and 
making good the pavement in the streets, and it was ordered 
that from that date all householders should at their own expense 
keep in repair the pavement in front of their residences to the 
centre of the street. 

From about the year 1770 the vestry of St. John's had 
charge of the streets, as also the roads in the union, and in each 
parish " overseers " of the roads were regularly appointed. In 
1775 it is recited that "pursuant to an Act made, 5 deo. III. 
c. 14, sec. 35, empowering vestries to repair the streets of corpo- 
rate towns by assessments, it is ordered by this vestry that the 
sum of seventy pounds sterling be applotted and levied off the 
inhabitants of the town of Sligo, to be applied towards paving 
and gravelling," &c. It appears that in 1780 the townspeople 
considered themselves over-rated, as the vestry ordered that, for 
the future, the borough should pay in the proportion of but 
one-ninth of the union. From this date the paving and flagging 
of the streets seem to have been regularly repaired. After the 
Town and Harbour Commissioners assumed charge, matters do 
not appear to have been as well managed by them as by the 
vestry, for the Londonderry Sentinel of November, 1836, states 
that a tourist who visited Sligo thought " that the bogs had 
been literally carried off the mountains into the streets, and had 


been there deposited in great depth." Dirt has been defined as- 
" matter in the wrong place," and there is certainly plenty of 
" matter in the wrong place " on the streets of Sligo. 

In 1869 the whole charge of the streets was handed over to 
the Corporation ; but the committee appointed in 1872 to report 
on the state in which they were kept issued the following : 
" We report that the state of the streets of the town (when we 
consider the increased sum paid by the Corporation for having 
them properly cleansed) is absolutely shameful ; dirt scraped 
from the centre to the sides, and allowed to remain there for 
days, the water tables filled up, and in some streets grass 
growing along the edge of the flags," the consequence being 
that in wet weather the streets, and sometimes even the houses,, 
were flooded, and mud was everywhere in its several stages r 
of "stony, sticky, slodgy, slushy, and washy." The Town 
Council shortly afterwards took the repairing and cleansing 
into their own hands, but the result not being much better 
they again placed the arrangement in the hands of a con- 

" No wonder citizens would cry, 
On these damp muddy days, 
Why don't the Corporation try 
To mend their ways ? " 

The streets and lanes in the Borough are divided into three 
classes i 1 the first class, consisting of the principal thoroughfares,. 

1 The streets are divided into three classes, and are here arranged in 
alphabetical order: 

Streets of the first class are Bridge-street ; Castle- street ; Gaol, or 
Albert-street (formerly Old Market-street and Correction- street) ; George's- 
street ; Gore-street, or the Mall ; High-street ; John-street ; Knox's-street 
(its former name had been Bridge- street) ; Lower Market-street ; New 
Bridge-street; Pound-street; Quay- street ; Ratcliffe, Stephen, and Thomas- 
streets ; Victoria Bridge and approach ; "Wine- street. 

Streets of the second class are Chapel-street ; Holborn-street ; Linen- 
hall-street ; Lower Union-place ; Lyons'-place ; New Barrack-street ; 
Old Market-street ; Temple -street ; Tubbergal ( Whitewell)-lane ; Union- 
place ; Waste Garden-lane ; Water-lane. 

Streets of the third class are Abbey- street ; Back-street ; Adelaide- 
street ; Back-lane and Old Pound-street ; Barrack and King-streets ; 
Burton -street ; Cadger' s -field- street ; Calry Church -lane; Charles -street ; 


were, by resolution of 6th September, 1871, to be swept daily ; 
the second class, twice a week ; and the third class once a week. 
For some years after the separation of the Borough and 
County, the Corporation effected a considerable saving in the 
outlay on repairs, as compared with that paid by the Grand 
Jury, full advantage being taken of the large out-put of road 
metal which had been placed on the highways. According to 
the evidence of the County Surveyor, the actual cost of keeping 
in repair, from 1859 to 1867, the 7092 perches of roads within 
the Borough, averaged 760 per annum. Before the epidemic 
of cholera in 1832, the town of Sligo was almost devoid of 
sewers, the superfluous water being carried off by surface drains, 
and little improvement seems to have been made until the year 
of the famine. 1 From that date, however, up to 1866, four 
miles, six furlongs, and seven perches of sewers were con- 
structed by the Grand Jury within the Borough, at a cost of 
4782. Since that period a large main drain has been made 

harlotte -street ; Church-hill; Church -lane ; Cranmore (great tree)-\ane ; 
Distillery-lane ; Duck-street ; Fish-market, or Quay-lane ; Garden-hill 
and Love-lane ; Gallows-hill North and Gallow's-hill South ; Gethin's- 
street ; Harmony-hill ; Hudson's -lane ; James-street ; Knappagh (hillocky)- 
road ; Lower and Upper Quay- streets ; Lungy-street this used formerly 
to he styled " The Lungy," also "The Lungay," and"Longay" (it may 
be derived either from an Irish word signifying a ship, or another somewhat 
similar signifying an encampment or fortress] ; Mall-lane ; Middleton's- 
row ; M'Donogh's-row ; Old Mail Coach-road ; Prince's-street ; Ramsay's- 
row ; Riverside ; Ropewalk ; Tubbernashelmada (snail's well] ; Vernon-row ; 

In a Survey of the town (1783), the lane leading from Market-street to 
the Rectory was then known as the " Old Sessions House -lane," and " Back- 
lane up to Sligo Stones." There was also a " WelFs-street ; " a " Hewith- 
street;" a "Shambles-street;" a " To wnsend -street ;" and a " Mags' - 
lane" ("Magsman" is slang for a street swindler ; "Mags' -lane, "therefore, 
may mean " Robber's-lane ; " and close to the town there is now a locality 
so named). It would appear as if at the commencement of 1839 the houses 
were numbered, and the names of the streets first posted up at the corners ; 
but certainly " Corkran's-mall " and " Thomas -street" were so marked in 

1 "Relief works in Sligo; Steep-street a little levelled; what to do 
with the mould ? Throw it into river ! ' Upon my Salmon ? ' eagerly 
objects one. It is at last carted far away." My Irish Journey in 1849 
pp. 221-2, THOMAS CARLYLE. 



through Wine-street ; in the year 1880 the question of iuter- 
cepting-sewers was again mooted, and after some investigation 
the scheme was finally carried out, with regard to the western 
bank of the river, the amount of loan granted being 1573. 

Wesley, in his Journal, describes his journeys by land, as 
well as passages made to Ireland in the Holyhead packet- 
boats. He speaks of days sometimes occupied by the voyage, 
or passed in enforced idleness waiting the decision of the 
captain to put to sea. In the early part of the last century 
journeys were usually made on horseback, for the tracks not 
only led in a bee-line up and down hills, but ran across sandy 
inlets of the ocean when uncovered at low water, as for instance 
at Drumcliff, Streamstown, and Tanrago. 

For farm work the country people had some curious vehicles, 
which they also employed for conveying themselves to market. 

FIG. 37. Slide car, still occasionally used for drawing weights over soft ground. 

"Slide cars" had no wheels, and when drawn, the ends of the 
shafts which were shod with iron, glided over the ground. 
A wicker-basket or creel was suspended between the shafts. 
An Act of Parliament imposed a fine for using these cars on the 
high roads, but they were nevertheless to be met with among 
the poor farmers, more especially in mountainous districts. A 
somewhat similar contrivance is still occasionally used by the 
country-people for drawing weights over soft ground (see fig. 37). 
There were also small carts which had the wheel fixed to a 
wooden axletree that revolved with it ; the shafts, connected by 



a few cross-bars reached no farther than to the middle of the 
horse's back. The horse drew by a chain or rope, one end 
of which was fastened to the collar and the other to a staple 
driven into the lower side of the shafts ; the wheels were solid, 
being constructed of three pieces of ash about three inches thick 
at the rim; the shafts were supported by a piece of metal 
called a " bolster," which was flat on the upper part and 
semicircular ly hollowed underneath for the axle to play on. 
These cars were capable of carrying a very considerable bur- 
den ; they moved along with ease, but were difficult to turn ; 
many people still alive remember seeing them in use. Fig. 38 
is a representation of one with solid wheels. It may here 
be observed that when going to market the farmers, when 
they had no large produce to take with them, removed the 
"crib" and screwed on a board at each side for the feet to rest 

FIG. 38. Cart with solid wheels ; the origin of the outside car. 

upon, thereby transforming this primitive machine into a pro- 
totype of the present well-known Irish jaunting car, in common 
use throughout the kingdom. 

About the commencement of the century was first introduced 
a vehicle called a Scotch dray, having spoked wheels and fixed 
iron axle-trees. In consequence of the greater height of the 
former, the shafts were more on a level with the point of 
draught, and a horse was thus able to draw a weight of about 
seven cwt. more than on the primitive " car." 

The old stage-coach was a cumbrous vehicle, and as the 


roads were rough, and gradients entirely disregarded, the 
horses had to be chosen more for strength than speed. About 
the year 1790 a new stage-coach was advertised to commence 
running between Dublin and Sligo. As an inducement to 
intending passengers the announcement was set forth in large 
type, that it " was lined with copper, and therefore completely 
bullet-proof." In 1810 the Sligo mail from Dublin started 
every night at a quarter before eight, from the " Eoyal Mail 
Coach Office, Hibernian Hotel, 40, Dawson-street," with a 
" double guard," these two guards being armed to resist high- 
waymen ; and it was not until the year 1844 that the armed 
guard on the daily coach to Ballina was first dispensed with. 
In 1812 there was only one stage-coach plying in the great 
district that lies between Belfast and Sligo, viz. the Dublin 
and Londonderry mail. From Sligo, in a direction south- 
ward to Tuam, there was only one common pass into the 
county Mayo, by Killala. Up to the year 1815, remarked 
Mr. Bianconi, the public accommodation for conveyance of pas- 
sengers in Ireland was confined to a few mailand day coaches 
on the great lines of road. Nothing was more striking than 
the great want in travelling accommodation ; for instance, a 
farmer living twenty or thirty miles from his market-town 
spent the first day in riding to it, the second in transacting his 
business, and the third in returning. A good example of the 
" expeditious travelling " of the year 1823, is afforded by the 
following advertisement from the columns of the Sligo Journal: 

" ROYAL CANAL: Cheap, secure, and expeditious Travelling to and 
from Dublin to Sligo. A. boat will leave Dublin every day at three 
o'clock, p.m., and arrive at Tenelie (or 39th lock) at nine o'clock 
the following morning, whence a most comfortable caravan starts 
and arrives in Boyle that evening at 5, passing through Longford, 
Rouskey, Drumsna, and Carrick-on- Shannon. The following morning 
a car will leave Boyle for Sligo and return to Boyle the day after. 
The fares of the boat, caravan, and car from Dublin to Sligo, a distance 
of 110 miles (Irish), is only sixteen shillings! December 24, 1823." 

It was not till the year 1828 that a coach commenced 
running regularly between Sligo and Enniskillen ; it is thus 


noticed in the local newspaper of the 20th June : " This con- 
veyance which we understand will be appointed in the first 
style, will as the advertisement expresses open further the 
resources of the country, extending the line of communication 
lately opened by the Belfast coach ; and it is intended after 
some time to run daily to and from Enniskillen." In Novem- 
ber of the same year was started (according to an advertisement 
in The Observer), " The Sligo, Ballina, and Castlebar day- 
coach," which left on Sundays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays, for 
Castlebar, returning on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. 

In those days, travelling by coach appears to have been 
attended with greater risk than by rail in the present, as 
demonstrated by a few extracts from newspapers : " On Tues- 
day evening (January 8, 1828), the Sligo mail-coach was 
upset." On 1st January of the following year, " in conse- 
quence of the flooded state of the road between Sligo and Boyle 
(in some places to the depth of five feet), notice was given that 
the Dublin mail would start every morning at 11 o'clock to 
make up for the time lost in taking a circuitous route." In the 
newspaper issue of February 4, 1831, when making excuse for 
the paucity of news from the Metropolis, it was stated that 
owing to the heavy falls of snow four mails remained due up 
to the hour of going to press. On August 3rd, 1831, the coach 
was upset; amongst others, "Mr. Peter O'Connor slightly hurt." 
In February, 1836, the coach was again upset, and several lives 
lost, whilst in April a similar casualty occurred, &c. &c. In 
the year 1833 it was announced that the fare to Dublin was 
reduced to thirty shillings ! 

In 1849, Mr. Bianconi purchased up the interests of the 
other proprietors, and became sole possessor of the vehicular 
traffic to Sligo. In 1832 he had commenced running a car from 
Longford to Sligo, in connexion with the canal boat. In 1852 
he put cars on the Strabane, Enniskillen, and Westport lines 
from Sligo, with branch-cars to several small towns in the 
north and west. In March, 1867, Mr. John Walsh, of Sligo, 
purchased from him "The Sligo and Enniskillen," " The Sligo 
and Ballyshannon," " The Sligo and Westport," " The Ballina 


and Castlebar," " The Enniskillen and Omagh," " The Stra- 
bane and Letterkenny " lines. Shortly after the change in 
ownership some of these branches were considerably extended. 
In July, 1873, an opposition was started on the Sligo and 
Ballina line a distance of 37 miles, and passengers were 
during that time carried for Is. 6d. Railways have, however, 
curtailed the amount of car-business so much, that the follow- 
ing lines alone are now continued by Mr. Walsh, i.e. "The 
Sligo and Bally shannon," "The Sligo and Ballina," "The 
Ballina and Belmullet." 

A guard of the Sligo coach a well-known character in his 
day i s alluded to in one of Lever's novels. In 1857 his ad- 
mirers presented him with a testimonial, shortly before to use 
his own words "the new iron steed had snorted the requiem 
of the old four-in-hand." In 1862, after the abolition of the 
mail-coach, he was employed as guard on the railway train, 
but seemed out of place in his new position. Anecdotes related 
concerning him are innumerable ; the best known is as follows : 
A Sligo gentleman of a not too-generous disposition frequently 
omitted to bring any luncheon, and it usually ended by the 
guard sharing his meal with him. On one occasion this gentle- 
man perceiving where the guard, M'Clusky, had deposited his 
food, and thinking to play him a trick, abstracted and ate the 
food. M'Clusky observed the theft, but took no notice until 
when they were nearing a village a large dog rushed out, barking 
violently at the coach ; he then proceeded to extract the food 
from where he had left it, and on perceiving its disappearance, 
expressed the greatest consternation and alarm, stopped the 
coach, and ordered the driver to turn back. In answer to an 
inquiry from the passengers, M'Clusky stated that he had 
hidden some poisoned meat, in order to throw it to a dog which 
was constantly annoying the mail by following and barking at 
the horses, that the meat must have dropped on the road, and 
that he would be answerable for somebody's untimely decease. 
The delinquent who had been rapidly changing colour here 
confessed that he had taken and eaten the missing food. 
" Then," said M'Clusky, solemnly, " you are a dead man ! " 


He again acted consternation and despair, when suddenly a 
happy idea occurred to him. " Stay," said he, " I can yet save 
you," and, turning to the driver, he inquired, if there was oil 
in the lamps, and being answered in the affirmative, he emptied 
the contents of one of them down his victim's throat, assuring 
him that this oil would retard the effects of the poison until 
medical assistance could be procured ! 

The mail-coach between Sligo and Ballina must have been 
attended by a guard who possessed the same humorous nature 
as M'Clusky if an opinion may be formed from an anecdote 
narrated in the Ulster Journal of Archeology, by a tourist who 
stated that, " Travelling some years ago, in the county Sligo, I 
was directed by the driver of the Westport mail-coach to the 
distant view of Aughris Head, which slopes gently up from 
the mainland, and suddenly terminates in an abrupt precipice 
whose foot is lashed by the billows of the Atlantic. On the 
green slope is yearly held a ' pattern/ or gathering of the 
people. My informant, a quick-witted, humorous native, pro- 
ceeded thus : ' There was no place in all the world where 
Alexander the Great wasn't able to ride his horse, till he came 
to Aughris. There he galloped his horse up to the very edge of 
the cliff, but when the beast saw the waves raging below, he 
reared up on his hind legs, and stopped short. The two marks 
of his hoofs are there still to be seen, and the people clear them 
out afresh every year ; I have seen them myself ! What better 
evidence can be required ? ' ' 

Within this century no event occurred of greater importance 
to the interests of Sligo than the opening of the Midland Great 
Western Eailway to the town. A great many abortive attempts 
had been previously made to obtain speedy direct communi- 
cation with Dublin, and elsewhere. In 1825, a memorial was 
presented to the Lord Lieutenant, from the gentry of Sligo, 
praying that a canal might be formed to connect Lough Erne 
with Lough Allen, and that again with Lough Gill, and thence 
to the sea. In 1839, the merchants of Sligo petitioned the 
Lords of the Treasury in favour of a canal to connect Lough 
Allen with Lough Gill, and Lough Gill with the sea ; and in 

p 2 


the years 1845-1846 two Acts were passed, the first authorizing 
the construction of a railroad from Sligo to the Shannon, and 
the latter the extension of the harbour of Sligo to Lough Grill 
by formation of a navigable canal. These Acts were styled 
" The Sligo and Shannon Bail way," and the " Sligo Ship 
Canal " ; the latter being the revival of a much older project ; 
for, so early as the commencement of the century a detailed 
survey had been made, with the object of constructing a canal 
from Sligo to the Shannon. 

In 1839 a schooner called the Maid of the Mills was launched 
on Lough Grill, to ply between Sligo and the mills at Druma- 
haire. In 1843 Mr. Kernaghan's steam-boat, The Lady of 
the Lake, plied between the above places. This was succeeded 
by Mr. KelPs Maid of Breffney, which continued to make the 
same passage until wrecked in 1885. This mode of transit for 
merchandize, however, has entirely collapsed, all traffic being 
now carried on by the " Sligo, Leitrim, and Northern Counties 

In 1852 the Corporation passed a resolution expressing 
"their most anxious wish to have Sligo connected with the 
capital by means of a railway, and that both as a body and 
individually they would give their best support and assistance 
to any public company formed for such object." On the 15th 
February, 1856, they, however, petitioned Parliament against 
a bill brought forward by a company styled the " North 
Western," the projected line being, in their opinion, likely to 
be most injurious to the trade of Sligo ; whilst on the 2nd June 
of the following year they approved of the Sligo extension of 
the Midland Great Western Bailway, if that company guar- 
anteed the completion of the line in five years, the road to be 
commenced simultaneously at Sligo and Longford. Finally, 
after long negotiations, the line was commenced, the company 
guaranteeing not to open any smaller portion to the public, but 
to wait until the entire line was completed. A great number 
of English navvies were employed at this time, and they aston- 
ished the natives as much by the amount of work done by 
them, as by their predilection for rook-pie, a then unheard of 


luxury in Sligo. As early as 1859 the permanent way between 
SKgo and Bally mote was laid in several places, but the exten- 
sion from Longford to Sligo was not officially opened until the 
3rd December, 1862. 1 The works had been three years in 
course of construction, at a cost of 450,000. The total length 
was fifty - eight miles, twenty - four of this being within the 
county, and it involved some heavy cuttings from Sligo to 
beyond Boyle. It had been ready for traffic twelve months 
previously, but before opening any smaller portion the com- 
pany had to await the completion of the entire line. 

At Kilfree a large signal-cabin was erected at considerable 
expense, and fitted with all the latest appliances, including 
electrical repeaters ; also new signal-cabins at Collooney, Car- 
ricknagat, Ballysadare, and Sligo, between which stations the 
absolute block- system is in force, the signals being worked by 

The Sligo and Ballaghaderreen line connects with the Mid- 
land Great Western system at Kilfree Junction. Nearly six 
miles of it are in the county. 

The Sligo, Leitrim, and Northern Counties Railway, which 
had been working for some time as far as Collooney, was opened 
into Sligo in 1882. It has running powers over the Midland 
Great Western line from Carricknagat Junction into the town. 
About nine miles of this railway from the above junction to 
Ballintogher lie within the county. It furnishes a link between 
Sligo and the North of Ireland, and has given a great impetus 
to the cattle trade, Collooney being now the best fair within a 
considerable radius. The traffic on this line is slowly improv- 
ing. In 1888 it carried 124,628 passengers, and 33,769 tons 
of general merchandize and minerals, the total receipts being 
14,941, the working expenses 13,634. 

The traffic carried by railway consists principally of im- 
ported goods sent inwards ; the outward trade being compara- 
tively small, barely one-ninth of the whole. The latter consists 

1 Since 1873 Mr. George Hildebrand has been Station Master, and is now 
also Local Inspector of portion of the line. 


of eggs for shipment to England, timber, porter, whiskey, &o. 
There was formerly a large trade in oats, but it has died 
out. The average yearly tonnage handled by the Midland 
Great Western Bail way in Sligo is between 40,000 and 50,000 
tons. In addition to this the Sligo, Leitrim, and Northern 
Counties Eailway carry about 24,000 tons out of Sligo, so that 
at a rough calculation 74,000 tons pass through the station. 

If a line from Collooney to Claremorris were made, the 
present circuitous route from Sligo to many important places 
in Ireland would be materially shortened ; and a large tract of 
country being thus opened up, the trade of the port of Sligo 
could not fail to benefit thereby. 

This line of railway, thanks to the facilities given by 
Government for the relief of distress, is now actually in course 
of construction. The Grand Jury at the Spring Assizes (1891) 
gave a guarantee of ld. in the 1 on the county at large, 
and a baronial guarantee from the barony of Leyny of 5d. 
in the 1 towards payment of the interest of the capital, 
the Government advancing the remainder of the funds need- 
ful for completion of the line. The railway commences at 
Collooney, and passes through Tubbercurry, Curry, and Bel- 
lahy. It has two junctions near Collooney with the existing 
line, viz. one with the Midland Great Western Eailway, 
near Carricknagat, and another with the Sligo, Leitrim, and 
Northern Counties Eailway at the Collooney station. 

Before the general introduction of steam, and even long 
afterwards, a regular trade was carried on by means of small 
fast-sailing schooners of from 80 to 100 tons ; but it was not 
until the 31st October, 1831, that the first steam-packet left 
the quay of Sligo. This was a novel sight ; the quays and 
both sides of the river were lined by a dense crowd, who 
cheered in an enthusiastic manner as the vessel commenced to 
move from her berth, for numbers of those in the crowd had 
never before seen a steamer. This boat was of 300 tons 
burden, and 100 horse-power, and belonged to the Glasgow 
and Liverpool Steam Shipping Company. From 1840 to 
1856 Messrs. Middleton & Pollexfen ran sailing vessels 


to Liverpool and Glasgow, and from 1856 to 1865 they ran 
steamers to the same ports. In the latter year the Sligo 
Steam Navigation Company was formed by the firm. 

In the year 1840 steam communication with Sligo was 
commenced by the Glasgow and Londonderry now the 
Glasgow, Dublin, and Londonderry Steam-Packet Company. 
At first the service with Glasgow was fortnightly, by a steamer 
of 150 tons register and of small power. As trade improved a 
fortnightly service was established to Liverpool, which subse- 
quently increased to a weekly one. In the year 1856 local 
opposition commenced, which terminated in 1865 in the with- 
drawal of the Company from the Liverpool trade. At the 
present time it maintains a bi-weekly service to Glasgow, and 
a fortnightly one to Ballina andJWestport. 

The vessels now plying are equal in point of size, speed, and 
accommodation to many cross- channel steamers ; their average 
size is about 800 tons burden, with engines of 800 to 1000 horse- 
power, and a speed of from 12 to 13 knots. 

The extension of railways has interfered in some degree with 
marine traffic, especially in the case of live stock and perishable 
goods. By a daily service in connexion with the east of Ireland 
ports, a saving of time (which is of importance in this trade) is 
effected, and the rough passage round the north-west coast 
found in bad weather to be somewhat injurious to cattle can 
be avoided ; despite this, the bulk of the steam-shipping trade 
has materially increased. 

At the close of the last century the Post Office of Sligo was 
situated in Quay-street ; the ground on which it stood was long 
afterwards known as " the post office plot." Letters from 
Dublin to Sligo then cost Wd. in transmission a single sheet 
of paper and no enclosure allowed. The speed at which " His 
Majesty's Mail" was carried was not excessive; in October, 
1824, the Sligo mail was " accelerated to 5J miles per hour " 
at the urgent entreaties of the Sligo Town and Harbour Com- 
missioners ; whilst on May 10 of the following year the Post- 
master-General advertised for " proposals for the conveyance 


of the mails between Sligo and Enniskillen, in a mail-cart 
drawn by one horse, carrying one passenger, and travelling at 
the rate of five miles an hour" ! 

The first Sligo postmaster whose name is known was Adam 
Guthrie, who held the position for thirty years, and was suc- 
ceeded in 1823 by Mr. Clarke, then by Thomas Hudson, and 
M. T. Phillips. Mr. Wynne appears to have had the appoint- 
ment of the postmaster. In 1832 a daily penny post was 
established to Ballymote, Tubbercurry, Coolaney, Skreen, and 

On January 25th, 1858, the Postmaster- General was 
petitioned to have the Sligo mail conveyed between Mullingar 
and Longford by rail, instead of by car. He granted the 
request, and it continued to be so carried till the completion of 
the line at the close of 1862. Then, and long subsequently, the 
postal arrangements seem to have been very defective. In 
June, 1882, the Postmaster-General was petitioned in regard 
to the serious delay in delivery of the letters from England and 
elsewhere, whilst again, December 22nd, 1884, his attention 
was drawn to the requirements of Sligo in relation to an 
accelerated mail service to and from Dublin. This was granted, 
and the " Limited Mail " to Dublin commenced to run on 
October 12th, 1885, the time occupied being only four hours. 
The journey from London to Sligo can be now accomplished 
in little over fifteen hours, including an hour's break in Dublin. 
The Government subsidy for this train amounts to about 
12,000 per annum. 

The actual revenue derived from the postal system of the 
town has been increasing steadily and rapidly, as the following 
return of the Sligo post office and district demonstrates : 

1870. 1880. 1890. 

Weekly circulation of letters, . . 13,000 16,500 44,500 

,, ,, telegrams, . 300 850 2,300 

Staff employed at Sligo, ... 7 12 26 

Number of sub-offices, . . . 11 14 18 

In addition to the town-staff there are eighty-six people 


employed at post-office work throughout the district. For one- 
letter carried in 1870 there were, in 1890, 3*42 ; and for one 
telegram in 1870 there were, in 1890, 7'66 delivered. The 
increase in the former department may be considered as com- 
paratively greater in proportion than the augmentation in the 
latter, which was fostered by the reduction by 50 per cent, in 
the price of telegrams, the rate of postage charged remaining 
the same. 



LIQ-0 is the only harbour of any account on that 
portion of the north-west coast here described. At 
the entrance of the Eiver Moy there is a bar, having 
at low water a depth of but three feet; and on 
account of the heavy swell which usually rolls in, 
and the quicksand nature of the shoals, it is reputed 
to be dangerous. Two perches that are erected on West 
Bartragh sandhills, when brought into line, mark the greatest 
depth of water over the bar ; from this the navigation is marked 
by buoys, and at a place called Plott, about four miles from the 
entrance, the channel becomes very shallow, with not more than 
two feet at low water. The quay, which lies about two miles 
below Ballina is commodious, but vessels are aground at low 

Northward in Donegal Bay lies the Island of Inismurray : 
it has dangerous outlying rocks ; its eastern end terminating in 
a stony spit, which projects to a distance of three-quarters of a 
mile, the sea breaking over it in heavy weather. Between 
Inismurray and the mainland there is a clear passage, but a 
reef, called Cloonagh Bar, extends from Ballyconnel Point in a 
direction parallel to the shore for about four miles ; in stormy 
weather it presents an appalling spectacle, for the sea breaks 
along the entire line of the shoal. 

Off the entrance to Milkhaven are several dangerous rocks : 
within these are the historic rocks of Carricknaspania and 
Carricknaneane. Dernish Island forms the western side of 
the entrance to Milkhaven, a narrow creek, with but two feet 
of water at its entrance ; its narrow and intricate channel has a 
pool of twelve feet of water inside Dernish Island, where fish- 


ing craft and small coasting vessels may lie in perfect security. 
Rosskeeragh is a low rocky point that juts out from the sandy 
shore, and next to it is Mullaghmore Head, nearly 200 feet in 
height. The roadstead and harbour are on the south-east side of 
this promontory, but although with westerly gales vessels draw- 
ing ten feet of water may enter at high tide, yet it is subject 
to a dangerous ground- swell, and the sea breaks all over the 
shallow anchorage outside. 

Sligo Bay comprehends the deep bight between Lenadoon 
on the west and Ballyconnel Point on the east : at the head of 
this bight are the three inlets of Ballysadare, Sligo, and Drum- 
cliff. The south, or Tireragh shore is low and rocky, rising, 
however, in the interior to an elevation, in some places, of nearly 
2000 feet. From Lenadoon eastward to Cooanmore Point is 
a distance of four miles, and the little inlet lying between it 
and Aughris Head is called Dromore Bay ; here, on the eastern 
side, there is a sandy bottom, affording good anchorage when 
the wind is off the shore, and outside, is Pollnadivna Ledge, 
a dangerous rocky shoal. Aughris Head forms a conspicuous 
landmark ; on its east side there is a small bay which affords 
shelter to fishing craft during off-shore winds. 

Ballysadare Bay is choked with sandbanks and exposed to 
the north-west swell. There are no buoys to mark the channel, 
but with the assistance of a skilful pilot, small vessels may go 
up to near the mills of Ballysadare at high water. 

The entire of this littoral with the exception of the en- 
trance to the port of Sligo is unlighted ; in 1876 the Grand 
Jury represented to the Government but in vain that the 
coast for many miles west from Sligo, all the way to Eagle 
Tsland in Erris, was totally unlit, and many casualties had 
actually occurred from this cause. It was suggested that the 
point of Kinnasharragh a low, dangerous shoal near Easky 
appeared a site suitable in all respects for the lighting of this 
part of the coast. 

A glance at the chart of the Harbour of Sligo shows that, 
in geological, or perhaps even in later times, there had been an 
island, or group of islands, between Aughris Head and Raughly. 


The largest of these shoals is now called " The Ledge " a well- 
known fishing ground ; but it is dangerous in stormy weather, 
the entire area being a mass of broken water. The Seal Eocks 
lie about a mile to the southward of Ardboline (sometimes called 
Haulbowline) Island ; and they are nearly covered at high 
water. About a mile south-east of these is Eaughly headland, 
connected by a narrow neck of shingle with the sandy beach. 
Between it and the Seal Eocks is Brown's Bay, where vessels 
lie during off-shore winds to wait for water sufficient to permit 
them to cross Sligo Bar. 

On the western side of the small peninsula of Eaughly the 
action of the sea has eroded the stone forming the cliffs into a 
series of caverns called the Pigeon-holes. At high tide the long 
swells of the Atlantic, more especially when augmented by a 
western gale, rush by various narrow channels into a large, deep, 
and open basin, situated at a considerable distance from the 
cliff, where the agitated waters seethe and roar with an appalling 
sound, even in ordinary weather. 

The east side of Eaughly Point is sheltered by Bird Eock 
(Carricknaneane] and Ledge, which break to a great extent the 
violence of the westerly swell, so that vessels often take shelter 
here from a gale in that quarter. The small harbour within the 
south point of the headland is dry at low water, and for some 
distance beyond it. A good idea of the general appearance of 
Sligo Bay is afforded by fig. 39, for the use of which the writer 
is indebted to the Lords of the Admiralty. 

Sligo Harbour is an extensive inlet, and comprises the area 
between Wheat Eock (Carriclmacrinnaght) and the Bridge of 
Sligo. Wheat Eock lies to the S.W. of the peninsula of 
Eaughly : it is about half a mile in extent, and at low water is 
often bare. At its southern extremity is the Bird Eock. Drum- 
cliff Bay, on the north side of the entrance, is choked with sand- 
banks, and appears, year by year, to be shoaling. The Johnsport 
channel, which in the year 1830 had at ebb of a spring tide six 
feet of water, for many years past has been quite filled in by 
the continuous drift of sand from the West. The once exten- 
sive and far-famed oyster-beds of Lissadell have suffered very 




much from this drift. The channel to Sligo crosses an extensive 
flat called the Bar. The deepest water over it (about 1 3 feet at 
low water) is denned by buoys ; and within the bar the water 
deepens to about 20 feet in a good anchorage called Pooldoy, 
where vessels lie in moderate weather to wait for water to enter 
the Harbour. 

The pilots of the Harbour of Sligo are divided into two 
classes, i.e. the " inside " and " outside." The duties of the 
former extended from the " Metal Man " to the quays, and of 
the latter from the sea to the "Metal Man." Formerly no 
proper superintendence or inspection of these men was ever 
undertaken, so that some had bad sight and others were colour- 
blind ; the consequence being that, within the short space of 
six months, there occurred four several casualties occasioned by 
the Harbour Commissioners electing men as pilots who were 
not capable of properly filling the position. Fortunately, no 
really serious accident happened ; and lately all pilots labouring 
under physical infirmity, incapacitating them from their work, 
have been superannuated. 

The old inhabitants of Sligo do not (at any rate in historic 
times) appear to have been much addicted to a maritime life. 
The O'Dowds seem, however, at one period, to have had a pre- 
dilection for sea-roving ; and in the twelfth and thirteenth 
centuries several accounts are given in the Irish Annals of 
expeditions undertaken by them, and generally crowned with 
success. In the " Book of Bally mote " there is a drawing of 
Noah's Ark, apparently a representation of a ship of the 
fourteenth century (fig. 40). 

Grants of the port-dues, &c., occur in 1420 and in 1449. 
About 1498 Felim O'Connor, on condition of being set at 
liberty by Mac Dermot, gave him a fifth share of " Cuan- 
Sligigh." On this subject P. W. Joyce remarks that "the 
most general word for harbour or haven is cuan ; and it is still 
employed everywhere round the coast. . . . The word cuan is 
also used, in an extended sense, to signify any curve or winding ; 
and whether in any particular case it is so used, or bears the 
meaning of the harbour, is easily determined." 



In former times the dues of Sligo and Gralway appear to 
have been joined ; and the area of the port of Sligo seems to have 
extended as far as Portevad. In the puhlic records occasional 
reference to it occurs. But it was in 1720 that the first 
attempted improvement in the harbour was initiated ; for 
about this period " an Act for cleaning the ports, harbours, 
and rivers ... of the towns of Galway, Sligoe, . . . and for 
erecting a ballast office ... in each of the said towns " was 
passed by the Irish Parliament. The petition of the merchants 

Fig. 40. Eepresentation of a ship from the Book of Ballymote. 

of Sligo for erection of a lighthouse on the site of the " Beacon 
Tower" was granted in the year 1831, and the work was com- 
pleted in 1835. The lighthouse stands on the extremity of 
Blackrock reef. On Coney Island might be found admirable 
sites for villas and bathing lodges for the summer season. It 
commands a panoramic view of a vast expanse of the Atlantic, 
the distant Donegal mountains, Raughly, the Ben Bulben range, 
Sligo, Knocknarea, the Tireragh mountains in short, an exten- 


sive and magnificent prospect. Tradition points to the earliest 
settlement in the island having been at the locality styled Poll- 
namaddow. In comparatively recent times the " seat of empire " 
was removed to the centre of the island, to a sheltered hollow 
styled Shanbally (i.e. old village), where the plough still turns up 
quantities of charcoal, the pavements of " streets," or the foun- 
dations of houses. About 150 years ago the inhabitants, follow- 
ing as usual the channel of trade, emigrated to the eastern shore, 
where the village now exists. During the year of the famine 
a road, which was originally intended to go round the island, was 
commenced, but never completed. 

At low water, during spring tides, the rocky ledge from the 
lighthouse to the island is so far uncovered as to enable com- 
munication to be carried on dryshod between it and the land. 
It is probably somewhere in this locality that the galleon of 
the Spanish Armada was wrecked, after having been repaired in 
Sligo ; for it is stated that antique silver ornaments, &c., of 
sixteenth century workmanship were to be seen in houses at 
Bosses Point and on Coney Island. Numerous wrecks also 
have occurred on the island. 

Owing to the obstruction of the Bungar Bank (i.e. narrow 
entrance), the lighting of the port remained very defective; 
and, in 1837, two lighthouses were placed on Oyster Island for 
the purpose of defining the channel, which runs close along the 
north side of the Blackrock reef, shoaling rapidly from thence 
to Lissadell. The Bungar Bank has been ever since gradually 
extending, so that the present lighthouses on Oyster Island 
are practically of little use. They had been originally placed 
so as to be kept in one by a vessel when making the port : 
owing, however, to the continual change taking place in the 
bank, even this precaution is almost useless without an ex- 
perienced pilot. 1 

1 Since the foregoing was written a sector light has been erected at the 
extremity of the island, showing red when the vessel is out of her course, 
but this is not considered satisfactory by the pilots, and the matter is now 
under the consideration of the Irish Lights Board, with a view to still 
further improvements. 


Just before entering the channel, between Bosses Point and 
Oyster Island, there is a dangerous half -tide rock, formerly 
called " the Perch Bock," now marked by a stone-built beacon, 
surmounted by the gigantic metal figure of a sailor : hence, it 
is styled " The Metal Man." It was erected in the year 1822, 
as shown by the following advertisement : 

" The Commissioners for improving the Town and Harbour of 
Sligo will receive plans, estimates, and proposals for erecting a suit- 
able pillar on the Perch Eock, to be not less than ten feet over high- 
water mark, upon which is to be fixed the ' Metal Man,' now lying on 
the new quay ; and that fenders be fixed to the northern side thereof, 
to protect vessels coming in contact with it ; the pillar to be perpendi- 
cular to the base on the north side. Monday, the llth of February, 
is fixed on for approving of the estimate, and declaring the constructor. 

" By order, T. REED, Secretary. 
" SLIGO, January 7, 1822." 

On the 5th September, 1825, the Commissioners resolved 
to have " The Metal Man " painted ; and ever since he has 
appeared in smart nautical attire. Although of such recent 
construction, yet a legend is attached to it which relates that 
"The Metal Man," at certain times of the year, leaves his 
pedestal and goes ashore to the Bosses. 

Informer times there was a quay projecting from the Oyster 
Island (so marked in the Survey of 1809-1818) ; later on, posts 
.along the shore were substituted, to which any vessel remaining 
over a tide was required to moor. These posts have now given 
place to mooring chains, to which vessels of over 3000 tons can 
make fast ; for the reach between Oyster Island and Bosses 
Point nearly a mile long, and about 300 yards broad affords 
anchorage in about twenty feet of water : the tide, however, is 
strong, and the holding ground not good, so that the present 
mooring chains are not only necessary, but form an excellent 
and thoroughly safe anchorage for the largest vessels. At the 
extremity of Bosses Point there is a headland styled " Dead 
Man's Point," so called, it is alleged, from a foreign seaman 
who, at the commencement of the century, died of the plague 


and was there buried. His bones, it is said, may still be seen, 
exposed by the action of the weather. The more ancient desig- 
nation of the headland was " Storey's Point," so styled in the 
chart of 1821. 

The Bosses Point 1 of to-day is a very different place from 
the Eosses Point of olden times. A decade has not passed since 
its sole hotel was a thatched cabin at the Sligo end of the village ; 

1 The Parochial District of Rosses Point owes its formation mainly to the 
exertions of the late Mrs. E. J. Cooper, of Markree Castle, who noticed the 
long-felt want of a place of worship for the many Protestant visitors to the 
seaside during the summer months. 

Originally, the Rosses having formed part of the very extensive parish 
of Drumcliff , depended for the ministrations of religion on the services of 
the rector and his curate, by whom (during the bathing season) divine wor- 
ship was conducted on Sunday afternoon in a room of some farmhouse, lent by 
the owner for the purpose. At Elsinore, which was then the property of 
the Cooper family, the visitors to the seaside were invited to attend, and 
occasionally, clergymen of the diocese, who chanced to be temporarily 
lodging at the Point, held services, and ministered wherever congregations 
could be brought together. But the irregularity and inconvenience of 
these arrangements were keenly felt, when, as happened year by year, 
the number of Protestant visitors increased. Therefore, with the consent 
of the Rev. Thomas Crawford, then rector of Drumcliff, it was resolved, 
that a parochiaTcfistrict should be severed from the mother parish, under 
what was known as " the Peel Act " of Parliament, and a church built, in 
which an incumbent should conduct the services of the United Church of 
England and Ireland, and have spiritual charge of the new parish the 
appointment to be placed in the hands of Five Trustees. Appeals for aid 
towards carrying out this desirable object were accordingly made, and a 
sufficient amount was raised for the erection of the church now standing 
at the entrance to the village of Rosses Point, and also for endowment of 
the incumbency, whenever a nomination thereto could be made. A sum of 
over 500 was expended in the building and fittings of the church, and 
1395 was provided for endowment. The first stone was laid on the 
14th August, 1854: the architect was William Dean Butler, and the 
builder, Henry Caldwell. For some years after 1858, when the building 
was opened for Divine Service during the summer months, the clergy 
of Drumcliff officiated there on Sunday afternoons, and conducted a 
school for the children of the coastguards and other residents of the district. 
In 1867 the then rector, feeling himself unable, through infirmity of age, to 
keep up the summer service at The Rosses, secured for a short period the 
aid of the Rev. Frederick Flood, A.B., Vicar of Kilmood, in the diocese 
of Down, who eventually accepted the incumbency of the church, and in 
August, 1869, he entered on the charge of the parish, in which he still 
continues to serve. 


whilst, now, some half-dozen fairly good hotels, containing con- 
siderable accommodation, have been erected to meet the demand 
created by tourists and lodgers ; for the steamer and the cars 
which, in the summer, ply between Sligo and its suburb have 
of late considerably increased the influx of visitors during that 
season. Nature has done a good deal for the place ; and it 
only requires capital, judiciously laid out, to make the Point 
a formidable rival to any western watering-place. A large 
adjoining space, known as " The Greenlands," is open to the 
public, and forms a delightful promenade. Another great attrac- 
tion is the amusement which can be had in the way of fishing 
and boating : row-boats and sailing-craft for hire are plentiful. 
At the upper end of Oyster Island the channel, which from 
this is marked out by perches and a sea-wall, is abruptly turned 
to the southward by the " Blennick," a dangerous and formerly 
rocky shoal projecting from the shore, and uncovered at low 
springs. It is the most serious obstacle to the navigation of 
the river, as it is not only in the direct course which the channel 
ought to pursue, but, also, it diverts the incoming tide from the 
north to the south side. The removal of the " Blennick " was 
long objected to by some persons who considered that it shel- 
tered "The Pool," by breaking the ground-swell coming in 
from the ocean ; yet its entire removal is of the greatest im- 
portance, in order that a straight run may be given to the 
river, and the incoming tide; the swell and wind would be 
sufficiently broken by Coney and Oyster Islands to render " The 
Pool " a safe anchorage. In 1877 a medium course was pur- 
sued, which has been attended with serious disadvantage. A 
great portion of the Blennick was lowered and the boulders 
removed. The scour over it is consequently greater, and " The 
Pool " has contracted in size ; the depth has also seriously dimi- 
nished. The first step for the improvement of the Harbour 
should be the entire removal of this obstacle, and the partial 
blocking of Shru-na-muile (the thousand streams), i.e. the channel 
lying between Oyster and Coney Islands. The additional 
volume of water thus confined to one course would have the 
effect of sweeping away the tail of Bungar Spit, and would in 


all probability greatly increase the depth of the water across the 
bar, as well as remove it further seaward. 

From " The Pool," the river describes a semicircle to the 
quays, running close along the northern shore ; this is an en- 
tirely new and artificial channel, preserved solely by the guide- 
wall and constant dredging. 

Commencing at Cartron Point, the old channel was variable 
in depth, and circuitous, being deflected from the north by the 
" Corrigen Shoal ; " the other parts of the channel were subject 
to constant changes. The Lower Bank, Middle Flat, and 
Southern Channel had materially altered between the date of 
the Survey made by Mr. Nimmo in 1822, and that by Mr. St. 
Leger in 1844, so that where there had been a depth of five 
feet at low springs, there was in 1844 a bank nearly three feet 
high, and the configuration of the banks had also considerably 
changed. In the year 1844, nearly 1000 was given by various 
gentlemen to improve the harbour ; of this sum, nearly 800 
was subscribed within the county. Mr. St. Leger's suggestions 
were adopted with some modifications, and resulted in the exca- 
vation of the present channel, which it is now in contemplation 
to deepen from the Blennick to the deep-water berths, owing to 
the urgent necessity of enabling large foreign steamers and 
sailing vessels to discharge at the quays instead of at Bosses 
Point. The estimated cost of the work is about 13,000, but 
the expenditure might be undertaken with financial safety, for 
the trade of the port is steadily increasing. The augmen- 
tation in revenue from the year 1864 to 1889 has amounted 
to about 60 per cent., and during the last three years there 
has been a surplus revenue after providing for all ordinary 
expenditure of upwards of 1000 per annum. 1 To meet this 
large outlay, it is proposed to increase the dues upon vessels 
from foreign parts, and for this there is ample margin, as 
Sligo is one of the cheapest ports in the United Kingdom, so 
far as tonnage dues are concerned ; consequently there seems 
very little doubt that before long steamers and ships will 

1 For a table of the trade of the port, &c., see Appendix H. 


have no difficulty in discharging at the quays. Up to the 
present, the largest vessel that has unloaded at the deep-water 
berth was of 1800 tons burden. Pococke, in 1752, writes that 
a ship of 100 tons could come up only at spring tides to Sligo. 
Beaufort, writing in 1792, stated that the largest vessels fre- 
quenting Sligo quay were little over 200 tons burden. 

From very early times the port of Sligo appears to have been 
the scene of busy foreign traffic. Camden, when writing his 
Britannia, states : " Hereabouts (i.e. in the County Sligo} 
Ptolemy places the city of Nagnata, but I have not been able to 
discover it. ... The place which Ptolemy points at is now 
called the Bay of Sligo, a creeky road for ships just under the 
town, which is the chief port in this county, and is adorned 
with a castle/' In 1312 twenty tuns of wine washed ashore 
on the coast from a wrecked vessel would seem to denote that 
trade with the Continent was even then considerable. The deed 
of conveyance of "ye cokket of Sligo' ' bears date 1430 and 1449, 
whilst again, a few years later, another concession was granted 
by Patent, 31 Henry VI. In 1544 Lord Fitzwilliam Bourke 
petitioned " to have in fee-farm the cockets of Sligo, Porte- 
vade, and Leighborne, with all other creeks and havens, which 
his ancestors had, and whereof the King never had profit, as 
they were kept from his Highness by usurpation." 

In 1566 Sir Henry Sidney stated that Sligo " hath been a 
great town, full of merchants' houses ; " and the " Four 
Masters " record the death of several members of the O'Crean 
family, who, from the 14th to the 17th century, appear to have 
been the " Merchant Princes " of Sligo. 1 

1 '" The yearly chardges of the new farmers of his Maj 1 ? 8 Customs, for the 
Kingdome of Ireland for the Officers Stipends settled by Mr. Cogan. And 
also for chardges of Custom-houses, and Store-houses. An 1632, w th ye 
names of such as have been formerly employed : 

Ould Officers. New Officers. 

Sligo and Moine, John Murtogh, coll. . he contynews, . 15 
Ellis Harlowe, Marsham Pem- 

berton, . . 20 

,, John Gardiner, at ye . Hugh Granes, . 10 


Some is, . .45" 



In 1575 Dominick Lynch, " of Galway, Merchant," appears 
to have been " Comptroller of Customs " of the Port. In 1660 
John Mogridge ; in 1680 " Francis Cornwall, Esq.," and " Lieut. 
John Leon d . Mullins in reversion after Mogridge." In 1724 
Darby Clarke was appointed, vice Cornwall and Mullins, de- 
ceased ; in 1739 W m . Chaigneau, Gent., vice Clarke, deceased ; 
in 1742 John Chaigneau, vice his brother, William Chaigneau, 
resigned; in 1747 Isaac Dance, vice Chaigneau, resigned; in 
1754 John Witherall, vice Dance, resigned. During his tenure 
of office the duties on imports and exports were as follows : 




s. d. 


,. d. 

' <* 


. 1208 


4 . 


11 7 



12 7 

. 120 








13 10 



7 2 

. 92 






1 . 


11 11 


. 1178 

12 3 

. 160 






6 . 





14 6 

. 487 






8 . 


6 3 


. 1122 

2 4 

. 523 






4 . 




. 1554 


. 309 





11 . 


17 11 



16 7 

. 471 




. 1017 


7 . 


17 7 


. 2477 

17 11 

. 835 




. 1187 


3 . 


3 2 


. 2418 

5 4 

. 730 




. 1458 


4 . 




. 2256 

8 1 

. 986 


Owen Wynne was appointed collector in 1821, and retired 
in 1859 ; he was succeeded by John Ralph ; on his resignation 
in 1875 Lewis Evans was appointed ; in 1879 he was succeeded 
by W. Petherick and by Mr. Corby. In 1883 the Customs and 
Bonded Warehouses were handed over to the Excise Depart- 
ment of the Inland .Revenue. In 1886 Mr. Corby was promoted, 
and his post filled by George Wood. 

Sligo- Customs District extends from Kinnesharragh Point, 
County Sligo, to Gweedore River, County Donegal, and within 
these limits the Superintendent of Customs is also Receiver 
of Wreck, Superintendent of Mercantile Marine, Registrar of 
Shipping and R. N. Reserve. The Custom duties in 1853 
were 20,576 ; in 1863, 23,970 ; in 1873, 61,566 ; in 1883, 
44,137. The Custom House, bonded warehouses, and timber 
yard are Government property, the site on which they stand, 
together with the quay immediately in front of the Custom 
House, extending from Lynn's Dock to Cochrane's Quay, having 


been presented to the Crown by Lord Palmerston in 1814. 
The Custom House Quay is now leased by the Honourable 
Commissioners of Customs to the Sligo Harbour Commissioners. 
The first attempt at improving the Port was undertaken circa 
1720 ; and the first Act relating to it appears to have been the 
3 George II., c. 2, which enacted that the Corporation should be 
conservators of the Port, and should maintain a ballast-office 
for improving and preserving it. It was at once acted on : 

" Borough of Sligo. " We the Provost, burgesses, and freemen of 
the said borough having this day assembled, pursuant to the Statute 
of the third of King George the Second, for erecting a Ballast-office 
in the port of Sligo, do hereby unanimously appoint Mr. Laurence 
Vernon to be Ballast-Master of the said port, and do hereby authorise 
and empower him, the said Laurence Yernon, to do all and everything, 
and to execute all powers to a Ballast-Master belonging, pursuant to 
the said Statute. And we do also authorise and empower him out of 
the first money arising for furnishing a Ballast for tonnage of all 
ships and vessels, and also duty on all boats, gabbards, 1 and lighters 
which shall come into his hands as Master of the Ballast-office of the 
port of Sligo, to put the quay in repair and to cleanse the river, and 
to put up perches when necessary. And we do also allow the said 
Laurence Vernon a salary for the pains and trouble he shall be at in 
executing the office of Ballast-Master, six shillings and eight pence in 
the pound sterling, of the produce payable to the said Ballast-office. 
Witness our hands, the 28 day of July, 1730. 

" OWEN WYNNE, Provost." 

The succeeding Ballast-Masters were : William Yernon 
1754 ; Charles Martin, 1759 ; Abraham Gibson, 1769. 

After the passing of the Municipal Act of 1842, the new 
Corporation had the privilege of sitting with the Town and 
Harbour Commissioners as ex officio members : the total number 
of members was thus raised to forty- eight. 

In 1869, by the passing of the " Borough Improvement 
Bill," the Corporation ceased to have any control over the 
Port, and the jurisdiction of the Commissioners became limited 

1 Gabbard is a barge ; another curious designation is also to be found in 
some documents, t. e. a pickard, or small ship. 


to the Harbour alone ; their title, created by the Act, being 
" The Sligo Harbour Commissioners." The number of mem- 
bers was reduced to nineteen ; eight elected by traders paying 
harbour dues to the amount of 5 ; and each trader had an 
extra vote for every 10 he so pays, over and above his quali- 
fying amount, up to six votes ; eight elected by householders 
rated in respect of premises valued at 12 ; two nominated by 
the Corporation ; the Mayor for the time being ex officio. On 
the 14th November the election takes place annually for the 
vacancies created by those retiring from office in rotation. 

Prior to this Act, Commissioners were elected for life, but 
now for four years only. The Harbour Commissioners, finding 
it necessary to increase their borrowing powers, applied to 
Parliament in 1877, when the present " Sligo Harbour Act " 
was passed, giving them, amongst other privileges, increased 
powers of borrowing to the extent of 50,000. Previously 
they were enabled to borrow only 6000 Irish. Since the 
passing of this Act they have borrowed from the Board of 
Public Works 20,000, and from local lenders over 6000. 

The primitive quay of the Port was immediately under the 
walls of the Castle and just below the mills, for, according to 
an old document of the 18th century, it is stated that " the 
Fort is upon the river, which is navigable to the Fort and no 
further." The Fish Quay was built in 1822 ; the entire length 
is but 200 feet. The old quay and slip is 250 feet in length ; 
next comes Cochrane's Quay, 200 feet a private undertaking, 
which was purchased by the Harbour Commissioners from the 
then proprietor as a connecting link between the town and the 
Custom House Quay (300 feet) ; Lynn's Dock has been filled 
in, and the Quay for 580 feet runlnjKmg its former entrance ; 
the Ballast Quay (1430 feet) was constructed after the passing 
of 9 Yict. c. 24 ; from it springs the Extension Quay to the 
deep-water berths, 2700 feet giving a total length of quayage 
of nearly a mile and a quarter. 

During the past fifty years Sligo has witnessed many 
changes in maritime trade and commerce. The introduction 
of steam revolutionized here, as elsewhere, the system by which 


goods were imported and exported, drawing the traffic to the 
larger seaports ; yet Sligo has not only maintained its position, 
but in contradistinction to other western ports, has steadily pro- 

About the commencement of this century the trade to and 
from the harbour was carried on by small sailing vessels, which 
brought supplies for a large inland district, and the exports of 
oats, butter, and general produce, were not only extensive but 
also very profitable to the owners, as, in the absence of other 
means of transit, they commanded high freights. 

So late as the year 1842, small trading vessels were built in 
Sligo ; the last launched was the "Lady Anne Wynne," lost off 
the coast of Scotland with all hands, and found floating keel 
uppermost. Even the ocean sailing-vessels were small for the 
considerable trade that was then carried on direct with New 
York, Barbadoes, Trinidad, and Quebec. 

It was gradually perceived that larger vessels could be 
worked more economically than small ones, but required more 
water to float them, and this brought about the formation of 
the new channel or cut from Bath Lodge to the Ballast Quay, 
by means of which vessels of a larger tonnage were enabled to 
reach the Quay. During the past twenty years, large steamers 
of steadily- in creasing dimensions have replaced the sailing 
vessels of former days, and this remark applies more particularly 
to the grain trade between Sligo and foreign parts. The 
importation of maize, which is the largest item 43,000 tons 
having been imported direct during the year 1890 is almost 
entirely eifected by large steamers, whilst twenty years ago the 
bulk of the trade was carried on by sailing-vessels of about 800 
tons. Now, it is not uncommon to see steamers of upwards of 
3000 tons discharging at Bosses Point. At present, the only 
trade in which large sailing-vessels are engaged is in the 
importation of flour from California and Oregon, where it is 
not possible to employ steamers to advantage. 

It is clear that Sligo is at considerable disadvantage by her 
merchants having to discharge their larger cargoes five miles from 
the town, incurring thereby a heavy loss in expense? of lighter- 


age. About ten years ago a considerable loan was obtained from 
the Board of Works for the purpose of constructing deep-water 
berths, but the sum proved inadequate to finish the work. It 
is necessary to obtain a further advance to enable the Commis- 
sioners not only to dredge to the full extent of the deep-water 
berth about 800 feet in length but to provide sixteen feet of 
water at the lowest state of the tide, as well as to deepen the 
channel from Oyster Island to these berths. With this object 
the Harbour Commissioners have lately been pressing their case 
upon the notice of the Government to grant a further advance 
to enable them to finish the work and place Sligo in fair compe- 
tition with Derry and other neighbouring ports. 

If the proposed improvement be carried out it will result in 
an increase of revenue to the port, and also add to the prosperity 
of the district. The saving of lighterage alone would enable 
merchants to extend their district 20 or 30 miles further, and 
thus increase the imports in a corresponding ratio ; and taking 
into account that Sligo has steadily progressed, whilst other 
western seaports in Ireland have declined, there is every pros- 
pect that the advance will be repaid : during the last 25 years the 
import dues alone have increased about 60 per cent. The total 
revenue from this source in 1864 was 3019, in 1889 4890. 
Sligo has never received a free grant of any description from 
Government for improvement of the port, but it was hoped that 
the Royal Commission which visited Sligo a few years ago 
would have recommended a grant for the purpose, so as to 
enable the fisheries to be developed ; they reported, however, that 
the interest of the port "might be left in the hands of its 
energetic inhabitants." 

Prior to the famine of 1847 the exports of oats and oatmeal 
were very considerable, principally to London, Liverpool, and 
Glasgow ; the importation of wheat and Indian corn from the 
Black Sea, the Levant, and Liverpool only commenced to any 
great extent about the year 1845. 

" The export trade of Sligo," writes Inglis in 1834, " is the 
largest in the north-west of Ireland. It consists chiefly of grain, 


and is steadily increasing ; the export of oats from Sligo in 
1831 was 136,000 quarters ; in 1832 it was 134,000 ; and in 
1833 it had increased to 154,000 quarters ; the export of wheat 
also had trebled within three years ; 3127 quarters were ex- 
ported in 1833." 

The regulation of the markets early occupied the attention 
of the authorities, 1 and stringent rules were laid down as to the 
size of the loads of fuel, as also of straw and hay. The earliest 
resolution passed by the Corporation is as follows : 

" Borough of Sligo, the 17th of April, 1711. We, the Provost and 
Free Burgesses of the aforesaid Borough, being assembled and met to- 
gether in Common Council, do appoint and order that for the certainty, 
justice, honesty, and benefit of all and every of Her Majesty's subjects, 
as well residing in the Borough, as all other Her Majesty's subjects, 
frequenting the markets of the said Borough, that shall have occasion 
to buy or sell any turf, hay, or straw, that two turf -barrels shall be made 
and provided, at or before the 24th of June next after this date hereof, 
at the cost and expense of the inhabitants of the said Borough, each 
barrel to contain sixty-four gallons, Winchester-measure, according to 
the ancient custom of the said Borough. And that every slide-car load 
of straw, brought to be sold in the said Borough, shall weigh two hun- 

iThe standard weights and measures early demanded attention. In 
1781 it was resolved that " the Provost, for the time being," should " set 
and dispose of the creans to the best advantage for the use and benefit of 
the Corporation." In the commencement of the century, the dry weights 
and measures were by the ounce, pound, stone, and barrel avoirdupois ; the 
hundred, peck, and sack ; liquid measures the same as throughout Ireland, 
gallon, quart, pint. Weights were nowhere assigned for measures, but 
measure was sometimes assigned for and substituted for weight. For in- 
stance, potatoes were sold by the peck, which was substituted for, and was 
always supposed to contain half a hundred ; oatenmeal was sold by the peck, 
which contained a weight of 10 Ibs. ; grain, flour, potatoes, and butter were 
sold as above-mentioned, by the pound, stone, and barrel, avoirdupois, for 
which the measures already quoted are frequently substituted; a sack 
of oats contained 24 stone ; barrel of barley 14 stone, but these, though 
bulk measures, were all weighed, as was every article throughout the 
country. The usual weights and measures became thoroughly in use in 
1812, but the number of stones to the barrel was varied in some parts of the 
country. In 1854 the inspection of weights and measures was given to the 
Royal Irish Constabulary. In 1862, pursuant to the 23 & 24 Viet. c. 119, 
a. 12, a rate was struck for the purpose of buying and keeping in proper 
order standard weights and measures, which are in their charge. 


dred and twenty -four full pounds. And every wheel-car load, brought 
to be sold as aforesaid, shall weigh four hundred and forty-eight full 
pounds. And that every slide-car load of hay, brought to the said 
Borough to be sold, shall weigh two hundred and twenty-four pounds 
full weight. And every wheel-car load, brought to be sold as aforesaid, 
shall weigh four hundred and forty -eight full pounds, both straw and 
hay to be dry and without fraud. And that twelve shillings be 
applotted on the inhabitants of the aforesaid Borough to pay for the 
aforesaid turf-barrels. 

" JOHN DE BUTT, Provost." 

These regulations seem, for nearly one hundred years, to 
have had the wished-for effect ; the turf barrels were parti- 
cularly in requisition, for shortly after the issuing of the above 
order two " turffe Barr lls more, Hooped w th oake Hoopes and 
Iron Handles " were placed in the market. 

Dimensions of a Sligo Turf-barrel. 

1754. Height and length of stave, . . 26 inches. 
Diameter of centre, . . . . 34 ,, 
Head or end of stave, . . . 32 ,, 

The measure for high loads is to be, in future, from 
IQth August, 1800, viz.: 

1800. End diameter, 26 inches. 

Bung diameter, . . . . . 28 ,, 
Length and height, . . . . 28 ,, 

The latter vessel is that by which ass-loads were allowed to 
be sold ; it is equal to - parts of a barrel or horse-load. 

Repeated complaints having been made of the frauds perpe- 
trated in the goods exposed for sale in the Sligo market the 
Corporation resolved on the 29th January, 1800 : 

"That from and after the first day of February next all turf brought 
to the town for sale in baskets or high loads shall contain three-fourth 
parts of the present turf barrel or standard barrel or measure for the 
sale of turf, and that any high load or load of turf carried on the back 
or backs of horses to the town for sale that shall be found to contain 
less than three-fourth parts of said turf barrels shall be deem'd a fraud, 
and on proof made thereof on oath of one credible witness before the 
Provost or on his view, or by confession of the party, it shall and may 
be lawful and he is hereby authorized to condemn and send the same 


to the Prisoners in the Gaol, House of Correction, or to the Infirmary. 
And whereas the like frauds are committed by persons bringing hay 
to this town for sale in trusses fraudulently made up, and appearing 
larger than they really are, Be it enacted, by the authority aforesaid, 
THAT ALL HAY brought to this town in trusses for sale shall weigh 
not less than three hundred weight each truss; and that from and 
after the said first day of February next, any hay exposed to sale in 
trusses that shall not weigh three hundred weight, of one hundred 
and twelve pounds to the hundred, shall be deemed a fraud, and on 
due proof thereof being made in manner aforesaid to the Provost, the 
same may be seized, condemned, and forfeited, one half to the infor- 
mer, and the other half of the money, arising from the sale thereof, 
to be given to the confined Debtors in the Gaol of Sligo aforesaid ; 
and be it known that the contents of a turf barrel is in height twenty- 
six inches, diameter of the centre thirty-four inches, and of both ends 
thirty-two inches." 

So early as 1781 an attempt was made to regulate the meat 
market. In 1866 it was resolved that the Mayor should from 
time to time inspect " meats exhibited for sale, and have any 
such as may be, in his opinion, unfit for human food, forfeited." 

In 1881 the Town Council resolved to purchase Mr. Wynne's 
interest in the corn and butter markets, tolls, customs, and rent, 
and all buildings in connexion with them, together with the 
fair-green and the pig-market, &c. When the Corporation had 
complete control of the markets, &c., they set to work energeti- 
cally in the way of improvement. A deputation, including the 
Borough Engineer (Mr. Cochrane) of the Town Council, visited 
various towns in Ulster, i.e. Strabane, Derry, Coleraine, Armagh, 
and Newry, to inspect the management, after which they made 
a report which was in many respects valuable for the after- 
regulation of the market. The concluding paragraph may be 
given : 

" While on the subject we may remark that in no town visited 
did we observe the same abundant supply of street fountains as in 
Sligo, whilst the quality of the Kilsellagh water was quite equal, 
if not superior, to any we met with. We consider the management 
of the markets, and all other matters connected with the town of 
Newry, exceptionally good, leaving nothing to be desired, and are of 
opinion that the Sligo Corporation cannot do better than take it as 
their model and follow as nearly as possible on the same lines." 


The first mention made of the butter-market occurs in 
the books of the Corporation on the 29th September, 1787, 
when James Soden was appointed "public weighmaster of 
butter, amT^l^otner commodities exposed for sale in the 

The weighmaster had" permission to appoint a deputy. In O, ' I 
1812 the Irish Butter Act vested in the Corporation they * 
patronage of the appointment to the joint offices of " weigh- 
master " and " taster of butter." Just prior to the remodelling 
of the Corporation, in 1842, that body appointed the Eight 
Hon. John Wynne to the office, which was then of considerable 
emolument, as it included the office of public weighmaster, in- 
spector of the town, port, and markets of Sligo, also the weighing 
of grain, and all other commodities. Mr. Wynne held the office 
until his death. 

On the 30th July, 1880, brands were provided for casks in 
the butter-market. They bore the words " Sligo Corporation " 
in a circle, with the several qualifications of "first," "second," 
" third," " fourth," in the centre. The Mayor of Sligo for the 
time being was appointed weighmaster. 

A memorial having been presented in the year 1884 to the 
Sligo Corporation in regard to the manner in which the butter- 
market was conducted, a committee of inquiry was appointed 
by that body. In their report it was recommended that during 
the winter months a kit or small firkin should be used instead 
of the large one then so general, justly observing "that the 
sooner butter can be sold, the better the quality will be : this 
being specially the case with reference to butter made during 
the winter months, when cattle are housed." The committee 
also recommended the abolition of the custom of deducting lib. 
from the weight of every firkin of butter. 

At the commencement of this century the export of butter 
from the port was very considerable, amounting in 1800 to 
upwards of 200,000. 150,000 casks of butter left the quay 
in 1832-1833, but this fell in 1838 to 50,000 ; and according 
to evidence given before a Committee of the House of Commons, 



the total number of casks of butter sold in the Sligo market 
averaged about 30,000 for four or five years prior to 1868. l 

The production and export of butter had been one of the 
staple industries of Sligo ; in common, however, with those of 
other districts, the Sligo and Leitrim farmers have not kept pace 
with the improvements of the times, and they can now obtain 
only a secondary place in the Scotch and English markets, and 
are unable to compete, either in quality or cost, with their con- 
tinental rivals, the produce of Danish dairies bringing regularly 
a much higher price. In short, Sligo butter is now almost 
excluded from the English markets, where in former years it 
found a ready sale, plainly showing the necessity that exists for 
alterations in the manner of its production. 

The butter-market returns a slight profit ; but the corn- 
market is worked at a loss. 

In May, 1890, a yearly horse fair was established in Sligo, 
and in September of the same year the Corporation for the 
first time instituted a weekly pig fair on every Thursday, and 
a pork and fowl market on every Friday. 

In olden days mills were erected on almost every property, 
and tenants were compelled to bring their corn to be ground 
there. The first mention to be found of a mill in the county 
occurs in 1463, when Muiknn-Adam or Adam's mill is men- 
tioned, as also in 1551 ; but mills in Ireland were long antece- 

1 A return of the number of firkins in the Sligo Butter Market from 
1869 to 1890: 







































dent to the introduction of Christianity. A number of these 
mills are enumerated in the Survey of 1633, from which date 
up to the commencement of this century they multiplied with 
great rapidity. In the year 1802 there were " about 200 corn- 
mills and three flour mills " in the county. 

In 1770 two " bolting mills " were erected, which promised 
to increase the crop of wheat, and to change the face of the 
county. Large mills appeared from the earliest date to have 
been erected- at Sligo, Ballysadare, and Collooney ; and they 
were from time to time increased in size to meet the require- 
ments of the day. Messrs. Pollexfen & Co. at present possess 
the most extensive business in Sligo. They own the Avena 
flour and corn mills at Ballysadare, the flour and corn mills at 
Sligo ; and, together with milling, they carry on an extensive 
inland trade in maize, wheat, flour, coal, &c. All these mills 
are driven by water-power. There is also a steam mill in Sligo 
which is worked by Mr. Harper Campbell. 

The present Avena Mills consist of three large buildings, 
Nos. 1, 2, 3 flour mills, and corn store, together with large 
storage accommodation, built separately from, but close to, each 
mill. Nos. 1 and 2 flour mills are in one large building, 
situated on the western side of the river. They are driven by 
two three-quarter breast- wheels, each being 24 feet in diameter, 
and 10 feet wide ; they contain twenty pairs 4J burrs. No. 3 
flour mill is built on the same bank of the river, but somewhat 
further down ; it is driven by an undershot wheel 24 feet in 
diameter and 9 feet wide ; it contains eight pairs of 4J feet 
burrs. The maize mill is on the eastern side of the river, 
nearly opposite No. 3 flour mill, and is connected with the 
opposite bank by a narrow bridge, for convenience of the work- 
men. It contains nine pairs of 4^- feet burrs, driven by two 
three-quarter breast- wheels, each 16 feet in diameter, and 6 feet 
wide. On this side of the river are large oat-kilns, driven by 
machinery connected with the corn mill ; here oats are received 
from the country people, kiln- dried, cleaned, and prepared for 
either exportation or milling. Close to them there is a small 
mill, containing two pairs of stones for crushing maize intended 


for horse-feeding. On the opposite bank are the gas-works, 
which supply the mills and dwelling-house. 

Sligo Mills, on the river Garvogue, consist of a flour and a 
corn mill, driven by three undershot wheels, and have eight 
runs of 4 J burrs, five of which are for flour and three for maize, 
but wheat has not been ground in the mill for some years, the 
entire machinery being now devoted to grinding maize. There 
is also an additional mill, recently erected, with eight pairs of 
4J feet burrs, driven by a Liffel turbine, and, in case of short- 
ness of water, with a steam-engine. The firm has large storage 
accommodation near the quays, and also numerous kilns for 
drying oats. They are largely engaged in the direct impor- 
tation of maize for their own and other millers' requirements 
in the district. 

At Collooney, as at Sligo, the present mills occupy the site 
of much older concerns. The Sligo Mills were in existence 
before the accession of Queen Elizabeth, as were those of Eath- 
braghan and Ballincar. 

The Camphill Mills, situated in Collooney, consist of a flour, 
a corn, and a saw mill. They are driven by two overshot wheels, 
each 25 feet in diameter, and 5 feet wide : there is also a small 
turbine. There are a few other mills scattered through the 

Some time between the years 1810 and 1820 Mr. Martin 
built, at the riverside, a distillery, over which Mr. Jameson 
acted as manager. On his departure to Dublin another 
manager was appointed in his stead ; but the work was not 
continued for any very lengthened period. After several 
years of idleness the distillery (in other hands) resumed work 
in 1836 ; but in 1845 was finally closed, and the premises 
allowed to go to utter ruin. 

Some sixty or seventy years ago there were no less than 
four breweries in working order within the town of Sligo itself, 
in addition to others scattered throughout the adjacent rural 
districts ; and, now, the sole survivor is the Lough Gill 
Brewery, owned by Messrs. Anderson & Co. The produce 


of these breweries originally consisted of ale and table-beer, 
porter and stout being then unknown in Connaught. The 
business was first started at Farm Hill, situated near the town, 
where a small brewery had been built about the year 1770. 
Increasing business rendered these premises too small, and a 
move was made, by the survivors of the original co-partners, 
to Water-lane, where more extensive buildings were obtained, 
and a large trade was carried on for many years. Want of 
space, however, owing to increased business, again necessi- 
tated another move to a more eligible site on the opposite 
side of the river, where the firm secured the buildings that 
now form the Lough Gill Brewery, and which had been erected 
by Messrs. Cochrane & Davis upon the site of an old shambles 
and riding-ring. Around this spacious quadrangle the brewery 
was built, with its stores, malt-house, &c. ; and these premises 
were fitted with all the appliances then in vogue. 

The export provision trade in Sligo seems to have com- 
menced about 1750. In January, 1748, " the slaughtering of 
beef for export, which on all former occasions ceased about 
Christmas, continued, in consequence of large orders from 
England for the purpose of ' victualling ' the fleets which, even 
at this season of the year, were obliged to be on channel service." 
Sligo, in 1800, was described as "a slaughtering exporting 
market." - Cattle were slaughtered in the "Cadger's Field," 
on the site now occupied by the artisans' dwellings. There is 
still a considerable export trade in cattle to England and Scot- 
land. A more curious traffic is that of donkeys, which are often 
shipped in large droves to England, and are sold in the 
large cities to costermongers, &c. 

Hides and tallow were formerly articles of export, but the 
quantities sold must naturally have been proportionable to the 
extent of the provision trade. 

On a small scale the weaving of coarse friezes and flannels was 
carried on for private use, as well as for sale. The former 
were coloured, and formed the usual clothing of the peasantry ; 
the latter served the same purpose for the women and children. 



The trade was but trifling, although the county possessed every 
facility for this industry. M'Parlan, writing in 1802, states that 
" in the wool trade Sligo is the emporium between Connaught 
and the North, from whence numbers come to meet the Con- 
naught sellers, and buy up large quantities of that article." 
The prices quoted in old newspapers appear, even in the present 
day, very high, but the value of the wool was fictitiously affected 
by the premiums offered by the Farming Society for the best 
piece of cloth manufactured with Irish wool. 

This employment amongst the peasantry now no longer 
exists, but in 1886, one of the extensive mills at Collooney was, 
at considerable expense, converted into a woollen factory, fitted 
up with the newest and most approved machinery for converting 
home-shorn wool into fabrics of all descriptions. 

The first attempt at establishing the linen trade in Ireland 
may be attributed to the Earl of Strafford, who was disposed 
to promote this manufacture in which he himself embarked 
30,000 ; but the civil war of 1641 to 1651 seems to have 
totally extinguished this industry. No trace of it appears in 
Sligo prior to 1688, and the early attempts at introducing the 
linen trade into the county appear to have resulted in failure ; 
in the year 1740 it is stated that scarcely any linen was sold, 
but a good deal of weaving for private consumption was 
carried on. 

About the year 1756, Lord Shelburne settled in the town of 
Ballymote, the surrounding neighbourhood of which was then 
"a wild uncultivated region, without industry or civility." 
There were no industries in the town to occupy a rapidly 
increasing population, so he started a linen manufactory, 
importing 17 families from the North of Ireland (working 27 
looms) to teach the technique. The enterprise, however, was 
mismanaged, and Lord Shelburne lost 5000. After his death 
his widow desiring to carry his plan to maturity, granted 
generous leases and other advantages to Mr. Wakefield a 
then well-known London merchant for the purpose of enlarg- 
ing and carrying on the enterprise. On his arrival he found 


20 families working on their own account. During the five 
years that the business was conducted by Mr. Wakefield, it made 
considerable progress ; several new buildings were erected, and 
the number of looms was increased to 60, but upon his death 
everything came to a deadlock. Lady Shelburne appointed 
another manager, giving him exceptionally good terms, yet 
at the end of five years he failed. In the year 1774 
Mr. Fitzmaurice determined to take the management into 
his own hands, but before doing so, resolved to make himself 
thoroughly acquainted with all the minutiae of linen manfac- 
ture. He inspected the various mills in the North of Ireland, 
and devoted himself so thoroughly to the subject, that from 
spinning to bleaching and selling, he could with his own 
hands do everything. Having made himself complete master 
of the business, Mr. Fitzmaurice employed Mr. Stansfield, a 
then well-known practical engineer, to erect a bleach mill in 
Ballymote, with machinery which was, at that time, far in 
advance of any in the North of Ireland, and as a good supply 
of water was necessary, a reservoir, occupying an area of 34 
acres, was formed by a dam constructed across the valley. 

Not having a bleach green the first year, he only kept 65 
looms employed, and sold the linen " green " ; in 1776, there 
were the same number ; whilst in 1777 there were 120. 

The weavers were mostly imported from the North of 
Ireland ; each family received a house, which cost 50, at a 
rent of 40s. per annum. This rent the idle weaver was forced 
to pay ; but in proportion to the number of webs woven the rent 
was lowered. Premiums were given also to the best weaver and 
spinner in the manufactory. 

This business gave a great stir to the town of Ballymote 
and the surrounding district ; for instance, in the year 1775, 
80 men, 525 women, and 40 children were employed. But even 
then failure was looming in the distance : for by the accounts 
it would appear as if the entire business was run on a minimum 
of profit, so that any slight fall in the linen trade would involve 
a dead loss in its working. 

The Hon. Thomas Fitzmaurice, who succeeded in the 

R 2 


management of the business, continued to encourage the 
manufactory, and he took in linen all the rents, which 
amounted to about 7000 a year. After his death there 
was a long minority ; the houses were let to an agent who 
employed about 130 looms, but the place from this began 
gradually to decline, though from the peculiar aptness of the 
situation for extension of the business few districts were more 
favoured by nature. Up to the collapse of the trade, linen fairs 
were regularly held in Ballymote. 

About the same period that the Ballymote linen trade 
was started, similar arrangements, but on a smaller scale, 
were made by Mr. O'Hara, Mr. Knox, and Mr. "Wynne, who 
built houses, procured looms, and encouraged the weaving 
trade. The present market-house at Collooney was erected by 
the Cootes before the sale of their property ; it was originally 
used as a linen-hall, and at the height of the prosperity of the 
manufacture about fifty weavers found constant employment 
in the village. The rise and fall of this industry, however, had 
the same history here as elsewhere in the county. The linen 
trade took root in most of the country villages ; at one period 
there were nearly forty looms in full work in the village of 
Ballysadare ; it afforded more or less occupation throughout 
the county, and the description of this industry, given by 
the Rev. James Neligan in 1815, as carried on by his parish- 
ioners, is applicable to the entire district : " The weavers are 
scattered throughout the villages, having in general a small 
holding of land, which they cultivate in the same manner as 
other tenants, and at their leisure times weave pieces for the 
country people or for themselves. There are good markets for 
these linens at Sligo and Ballina, where they are sold green, 
and many of them bought by bleachers in the neighbourhood, 
who after bleaching them, send them to Dublin or some foreign 
market." Thus, weaving and spinning were almost universally 
practised, the latter occupation being that of the women and 
children, and while the females were engaged in preparing the 
flax and spinning the yarn, the men were weaving. Very little 
land was given with the houses, as it was thought that weaving 


and farming were incompatible occupations ; a plot of potatoes, 
together with a cow's grass, was the usual allotment to each 
house. Many of these old looms are still in existence ; fig. 41 
represents one that is still in use. 

The first Linen Hall was erected in Sligo about 1760, as 
appears from the following resolution in the books of the 
Corporation : 

"Borough of Sligo to wit. Whereas there was formerly very 
irregular proceedings in buying Linen-cloth in the Market of Sligo 
by not haying a fixed place for buying the same, and whereas James 
Knox, Esquire, hath this day proposed to the Common Council to 
erect and build a Linen Hall convenient for any number of buyers, 
who may attend this market in a plot of ground to be provided 
in addition to one to be given by Owen "Wynne, Esquire, in Old 
Market (? Street) for building a Linen Hall and offices, provided the 
Common Council give their approbation thereto ; therefore it is ordered 
by the Common Council that as soon as said Hall is so built, that no 
buyer of Linen-cloth do presume to buy Linen-cloth but at said 
Hall under the penalty of incurring the displeasure of this Common 
Council, and under such fines and penalties as the law in that case 
inflicts. And it is further ordered that no person whatever after 
said Hall is so built do presume to expose Linen-cloth to sale in 
any other place but in said Hall under the restrictions and penalties 
aforesaid. And that one penny and no more shall be paid for the 
buying each piece or web of clothing in the said Linen-Hall. And 
that the Provost shall, so soon as the said Hall is built, publish this our 
order in the most public part of the town, that no person may here- 
after plead want of knowledge of the same. 

"EDWAKD MARTIN, Provost." 

M'Parlan, writing in 1802, states that "there is now at 
Sligo a Linen Hall regularly and extensively conducted by 
Mr. Holmes ; very large sums of money are every week laid 
out here in the purchase of linen ;" after the year 1815, how- 
ever, the linen trade appears to have rapidly failed. 

In 1824 " linens of good fabric " were disposed of at almost 
any price the buyers chose to offer. In 1834 it is said of 
Sligo that " the linen trade scarcely exists," whilst in 1855 
Marmion states that the large trade which had flourished in 
Sligo in " narrows " (or linen cloth of coarse quality) was almost 


extinct, and the Hall erected for its storage was empty ; a few 
weavers still persevered, but occupied themselves principally in 
making stockings, and this branch of industry lingered for a 
few years. 

There was an immense export of yarn to England during 
the halcyon days of the linen trade. In the year 1775 80,000 
worth of yarn was exported from the port of Sligo ; in 1777 
upwards of 40,000 worth of the commodity was sent thence 
to Manchester and Liverpool ; in 1791, 61,041 yards of linen 
cloth were exported. 

About the time of the introduction of the linen industry 
into Sligo, the landlords seem to have specially exerted them- 
selves in endeavouring to create occupation for the rapidly 
increasing population. Salt works were established in several 
localities, notably at Drumcliff and Ballydrihed, but in order to 
work them skilled labour had to be imported from the North of 
Ireland. A few smaller but now extinct industries existed in 
the town of Sligo ; most of these were finally annihilated by the 
railroad. " Carding " was formerly a very general industry, as 
was also " brogue " making. The ancient brogue was made of 
raw hide, rudely stretched, and the primitive pattern continued 
in use until recent times. Hundreds have been found in bogs, 
and good specimens of these, together with some of more elabo- 
rate finish, are preserved in the Science and Art Museum, 
Dublin. 1 

Clay smoking pipes were manufactured, also coarse pottery ; 
there were soap, snuff, tobacco, and candle manufacturers, also 

1 Small tanyards were numerous. "The peasantry," according to P. "W. 
Joyce, " had formerly a rude method of tanning hides of animals, which in 
remote parts of the country is practised to this day. They first filled the 
hide with lime, and immersed it in a bog-hole, to loosen the hair ; after ten 
or eleven days they took it out, cleaned off the lime, and in order to thicken 
the hide put it into a cask to steep for about three weeks, with the root of 
a plant called cromelly, or neachartach, which also gave it a brown colour ; 
after this it was rubbed between boards with milk, to make it smooth and 
pliable, and then dried, when it was fit for use. " 



rope makers; there had been a small trade in rush-lights, 
Carigeen moss, and flax-seed. Some of the female portion of 
the population found occupation in embroidering, and sewing 
muslin and light cottons. Frieze, drugget, and flannel were 
made by the cottagers, and the housewives generally dyed, 
with madder and alum, the cloth woven by themselves ; but 
there were a number of dyers in the town who, by way of ad- 
vertisement, were in the habit of suspending before their doors 
the pieces coming out of their hands ; and the various colours 
thus displayed enlivened the appearance of the streets. 

Many curious and antique gold ornaments have been found 
from time to time in the county. Along with a penannular 
ornament (acquired by the Royal Irish Academy), were dis- 
covered a quantity of small ring chains. A golden- cupped 
fibula (fig. 42) was found in a bog near the town in 1874 ; it 
was quite perfect, and was purchased 
by the Royal Irish Academy for 
21 12s. Eemains of this class 
have long been a puzzle to the 
antiquary. There seem to be but 
scanty grounds for styling them 
" fibulae ; " they are found of sizes 
varying from a mere shirt stud to 
that of a door-handle sometimes 
even larger. Portion of a strange 
penannular object was found in a 
cutting when the Collooney and Enniskillen Eailway line 
was in course of construction ; it was in a stratum of peat, 
resting on gravel, and at a depth of about six feet from the 
surface ; the relic consists of a hard earthen core, covered with 
a thin plate of gold, upon which is displayed a variety of dots 
and scorings of very archaic character. Articles of the so-called 
" fibulae " character, and probably contemporary with the 
fragment in question, have not unfrequently been found to 
contain a core of earth or copper. This curious waif of time 
coming into the possession of Robert Duke, D. L., of Newpark, 

FIG. 42. Gold-cupped Fibula. 
(About one-third real size.) 


was presented by him to the Royal Irish Academy (fig. 43). 
Several beautiful ornaments and brooches of fine bronze, orna- 
mented in Celtic style, have from time to time been discovered; 
. ^ notably one found at Eallyglass, and 
another in the bed of Tjb'ugn Ciill, which 
is now in the possession of Mr. Eobert 
Day, of Cork. 

Even in the days of its greatest 

PIT FlG - 43- Fragment of a 

prosperity the manufacture ot kelp (as Penannuiar object found m 

" " J m r x a cutting on the Sngo, 

formerly carried on in the county of ^Si^zlT' and N ' C ' R ' 

Sligo) was crude and wasteful. The 

seaweed was spread on the ground to dry, and then burnt 
in a shallow pit to an ash ; it was afterwards raked up into a 
fused mass resembling iron slag. The peculiar odour from 
the dense smoke of burning kelp could, in calm weather, be 
distinctly perceived at a great distance across the sea. It 
was about the middle of the eighteenth century that the 
manufacture of kelp was commenced, for the value of the 
sodium-carbonate extracted from it. When the high duties 
levied during the Napoleonic wars were taken off foreign barilla 
. and salt, kelp for which the demand had previously been 
very great rapidly declined in value, and became scarcely 
worth making. At the beginning of the present century kelp 
realized in the English markets from 20 to 22 per ton ; the 
imported barilla then became a formidable rival, and up to 
1822 the average price of kelp was only 10 10s. The duty 
being then taken off barilla, kelp fell to 8 10s. per ton in 1823; 
on the removal of the salt duty, the price fell to 3 ; and in 1831 
to 2 per ton ; but till 1845, it was still used in soap and glass 
factories. At this period the manufacture became unremunera- 
tive, but on the discovery of iodine which though noticed in 
1812 was not much used until 1845 the best kelp rose rapidly 
in price till the first qualities reached 10 per ton. In the 
year 1875 nitrate of soda began to be imported from South 
America, and from that date on, the importation of this article 
increased so considerably that, at present, the kelp trade is 



practically dead in Sligo. The little that is yet made in Tireragh 
is shipped from Sligo, and from about Baughly it is shipped 
from Mullaghmore to Glasgow. This manufacture has thus 
been carried on in the district with varying success, so much 
depending on the weather : when the season is favourable for 
drying the wrack, even when prices are low, it still yields a 
fair return for the labour expended, but in bad weather great 
trouble and time are expended for very trifling remuneration. 
The coast line of Sligo is more thickly populated than parts 
remote from the sea, and this may fairly be accounted for by 
the fact that it was at all times largely inhabited by fishermen. 
When kelp-burning was established, the inhabitants of the 
neighbouring districts flocked to the littoral, and the profits of 
this industry were so great that fishing was practically aban- 
doned ; the coast population was doubled, but the fisheries were 
no longer worked. 

Young, in his Tour in Ireland, stated that about 1777 vast 
quantities of kelp 1 were burned along the Tireragh littoral, but it 
was then made only during the summer season, for in winter or 
spring the farmers used the wrack as manure. The shore was very 
fruitful in seaweed, and a rent was paid for it by the ton of what 
was obtained. In Wakefield's Ireland it is observed that kelp 
was used by the Irish bleachers, and was made along the coast 
of Sligo. 

The average price in Sligo appears to have been from 1740 
to 1760 about 2 5s. per ton ; from the latter date to 1770 
about 4 4s. per ton ; from 1770 to 1780 about 5 per ton ; 
from 1780 to 1790 about 6 per ton ; from 1790 to 1812 11 

1 Beturn of kelp manufactured in the county of Sligo from 1870-1883 : 



Total Value. 

Average price 
per ton. 

Tons. Cwt. grs. 

s. d. 

s. d. 


1587 15 i 

6796 17 o 

4 5 7s 


1484 8 7 
1248 10 3 

6906 i 6 2 
6638 4 10 

4 13 of 


1634 18 2 

8587 18 5 

5 5 of 


43i o o 

1570 16 9 

3 12 loj 


677 15 2 

3544 19 7 



313 I 2 

1103 i 2 

3 10 5 


83 16 2 

255 9 6 

3 o 114 


to 14 per ton. In 1825 kelp sold at from 5 to 6 per ton. 
In 1870 a royalty worth 600 a-year was in 1889 worth but 
140, owing to the depression occasioned by the importation of 
nitrate of soda from Chili. 

In the carboniferous limestone formation between Gleniff 
and Glencar on the one side, and Glenade in the county Leitrim 
on the other, are found continuous deposits of barytes, chemi- 
cally known as sulphate of barium. The lodes on the north 
side towards Glenade have only recently been discovered, and 
are now in process of exploration. That towards Glencar 
which is apparently a true fissure-vein varying from six feet to 
a foot and even less in thickness can be traced on the surface 
to within a short distance of the cliff in Glencar ; it was first 
worked on the top of the mountain in 1858 by a Mr. Williams, 
who had the ore transported on donkeys' backs round the spur 
of the cliff to Gleniff, whence it was carted to Mullaghmore and 
shipped there in the raw state for Liverpool. Mr. Williams not 
being able to come to terms with the owners of the mineral 
rights, abandoned the working, which so far had been a mere 
scratching of the surface. In 1870 the working of the lode was 
taken up by Mr. Folliott Barton, who began at the top of the 
cliff in Gleniff, on Sir Eobert Gore-Booth's property. The ore 
was thence brought down to the valley by small buckets car- 
rying two stone weight each ; the buckets were then hooked on 
to an endless wire-rope, and moved by the weight of the full 
buckets round inclined drums at either end. The vertical height 
of the terminal stage at the mouth of the workings, above the 
lower terminal platform, where the buckets were taken off, 
emptied, and hooked on again on the other side of the drum, 
was about 1000 feet. The ore was removed to a wash-trough 
situated a couple of miles down the glen, and from thence to a 
small water-mill near the mouth of the Bunduff river, where it 
was ground by the wet process used in making china, lavigated, 
bleached with sulphuric acid, and packed in barrels or bags for 
shipment from Mullaghmore. From 1875 to 1888 the working 
of the mine was discontinued. In the latter year Sir Henry 
Gore-Booth and Mr. George Tottenham took it up, and have 


been since working it in partnership. Drifts on the lode have 
been started 200 feet lower down the cliff, and a ladder-road has 
been made from top to bottom, by which access to the mine 
can be had in all weathers, either from above or from below. 
The first of these ladders from the bottom of the precipice, is 
140 feet in length, and nearly sheer ; a ropeway of permanent 
wire cables with a span of 3000 feet is now used for transporting 
the spar from the mouth of the mine to the road below, and 
upon these steel buckets are slung from overhead, grooved wheels 
pass up and down every three minutes with a load of 5 cwt. 
each, the full one coming down taking up the empty one on the 
other line. The buckets are tipped into a truck which shoots 
the ore to the washing and dressing sheds below, and from 
there it is carted to the steam-mill which has been erected for 
grinding it, near Ballintrillick-bridge, and which is con- 
veniently situated for the lodes not yet developed on the north 
side of the glen. Here it is again picked over, all impurities 
removed, and after being dried on a tiled floor heated by the 
waste steam from the engine, it is ground in Lamberton's Ball 
Mills, six of which have been put up ; the impalpable powder 
is separated from the grit by special machines and packed into 
barrels, or bags, for shipment from Mullaghmore or Sligo. It 
is anticipated that a considerable export trade will be done to 
America, and that from three to five thousand tons during the 
year may be disposed of at a remunerative price, giving employ- 
ment locally to sixty or seventy hands. The principal use of 
barytes is as a substitute for white-lead in making cheap paint. 
It is used by bleachers for size, by paper-makers and china 
manufacturers for glaze, for making glass, by chemists for 
making analyses, and for a variety of other purposes. It is 
sometimes introduced into articles that are sold by weight and 
merely for the purpose of adding weight the quality which its 
name implies, and which is its distinguishing characteristic. 
There are other mines of a somewhat similar description near 
Clonakilty, and also in the neighbourhood of Bantry, but the 
more valuable carbonate of baryta or barium does not, it is 
alleged, occur elsewhere in Ireland. 


It is within a comparatively recent period that a steam-mill 
was established in Sligo for the production of a variety of 
common articles of wood, but of which the chief output was 
spools or pirns. Immense circular saws cut the trunks of trees 
into portable logs, whilst others slice them into sections of 
thickness corresponding to the height of the required spool, 
and long lines of workmen perform with bewildering rapidity 
their various duties, tending towards the production of the 
perfected article. Everything is done by steam, with skilled 
hands, assisted by intricate and delicate machinery, and as the 
Messrs. MacNeil supply the leading thread manufacturers with 
these pirns, the majority of the spools handled by the deft 
fingers of the " fair ladies " of Sligo are the product of this 
factory. Unfortunately, the premises are at present closed, and 
many workers are thus thrown out of employment. 

The chemical works at Collooney had but an ephemeral 
existence ; they were erected for the purpose of converting the 
thinnings of trees from the various surrounding demesnes into 
pjroligneous acid. The charcoal, left after extraction of the 
acids from the wood, formed also an important item in the 

In the commencement of this century a slate quarry was 
opened by Mr. Taaife near Lough Talt, but it proved a failure. 

Brick-clay is found in a few localities in the county ; it is 
worked near Collooney, and in Leitrim, on the river Bonet ; 
the bricks, however, are of an inferior quality. 

In 1755 the bricks were sold at 8s. per 1000 ; in 1809 the 
expense of labour in making them was 12s. per 1000, which, 
added to the culm, raised the price to 25s. Wilkinson, in 
his Practical Geology, 1845, states that the average was from 
20s. to 22s. ; the present price is from 22s. to 28s. per 1000, 
according to quality. 

In the commencement of the 18th century, the fishing-boats 
used off the Sligo coast consisted merely of a wooden frame, 


covered with horse or bullock's hide ; they were of various 
forms, but all so exceedingly buoyant that few accidents hap- 
pened. For a boat, or curach, two cow-hides were sufficient 
the hairy side being turned inwards and they were sewed to- 
gether with worsted thread, which swells when it becomes wet ; 
the outside was sometimes tarred. These boats were usually 
about fifteen feet in length, five in width, and two in depth ; 
they had four oars, worked by two men ; they were without 
keel, and both ends were shaped alike, so that they could move 
either way with equal ease. The cost of construction was a 
guinea and a-half. 

The curach has vanished for some years from Sligo, although 
it may yet be seen on the coasts of Donegal and Mayo, but 
even there they are not representations of the true article, 
these imitations being covered with coarse, tarred canvas, and 
they differ somewhat both in form and method of construction 
from their ancient prototype, which was composed of a regular 
frame of willow ribs, was spoon-shaped, and about eight or nine 
feet in length, the frames being covered over on the outside 
with the untanned skin of a horse or cow, and it was described 
by Beranger in 1779, on his visit to Inismurray, as a boat 
made of basketwork, and covered with a horse's or cow's skin. 
As the "members" (Fribs) were six or eight inches asunder, the 
sun shining bright, and the skin transparent, it seemed to 
Beranger to be a vessel of glass, as he could see the water 
through it. These boats he described as being common in the 
province of Connaught. Some canoes very similarly constructed 
are used by the Indians in the northern districts of the Dominion 
of Canada, and a traveller thus describes one : " Perhaps boat 
is too strong a term to employ for structures so fragile com- 
bining the frailty of a cockleshell with the form of a slice of 
melon. Seeing a piece of plank stretched across the coracle- 
presumably fixed one stout, middle-aged man boldly sat on it, 
but only to subside with a crash on a large mass of ice and 
snow in the flooring." 

In 1764, and afterwards in 1819, bounties were granted by 
Parliament to encourage the Irish fisheries, and for this purpose 


commissioners were appointed to grant money for the erection 
of piers and the building of boats of a certain tonnage. 

In the year 1775, the sea fisheries of Sligo had developed ; 
there were about 150 fishing-boats belonging to the Bay of 
Killala and the Eiver Moy five men to a boat. They judged 
of the shoal of herrings being near at hand by the presence of 
the gannet, a bird that pursues these fish. The herrings were 
then usually caught near the bar. This fishing began in October, 
and lasted only two or three weeks. Sometimes each boat got 
10,000 herrings, which was a full load, but this was a very 
rare occurrence ; the general number was from three to five 
thousand, and the price from thirteen pence to two and sixpence, 
the average being one shilling and eight pence per hundred. 
At the date mentioned the ordinary fishing-boat employed in 
regular work off the Sligo coast was of about four tons measure- 
ment. There were seven shares of net to each boat, each share 
being sixty yards long, and four fathoms deep, with eight score 
mesh ; the nets were made by the fishermen themselves, and 
were composed either of flax or hemp, well tanned. The 
division of profits was made according to scale. The owner of 
the boat had a fifth, the nets two-fifths, and the crew two-fifths. 
The two-fifths belonging to the crew were sub-divided into 
sixths, of which the skipper had two shares. The fishery at this 
time was stated to be declining ; a filibuster named Thurot was 
reported to have swept the coast of boats. 

In Sligo, and also on the whole of the north-west coast, the 
herring fishery was of great importance until the year 1783 ; 
after that time it failed almost entirely. During the summer 
season a few herrings were caught, but the quantity was so 
small as scarcely to be worth notice. 

MTarlan, in his Survey of Sligo (1802), remarks that many 
people looked upon sprats as young herrings, and so very many 
of them having been taken, it was supposed the herrings had 
decreased in number, and that the survivors were frightened from 
the coast. It has been also stated that the noise of artillery and 
the firing of small arms must tend to frighten away fish accus- 
tomed to swim near the surface of the water. The migratory 


habits of the herring are very perplexing, but it would appear 
that they shift their waters about every thirty years. Sixty 
years ago all the Sligo fishing-boats went off to the northern 
bay of Donegal, and there fished for the season. In 1840, the 
herrings came into Sligo Bay, and remained for thirty-five 
years ; then they returned to Donegal Bay again. On the 
coast of Norway they move about in the same manner ; many 
reasons for this have been assigned, the most probable being, 
that from natural instinct they seek out new feeding grounds- 
when the old are bare. 

Toward the close of the last century, a grant was given by 
the Irish Parliament for the purpose of promoting the whale 
fishery, but it was discontinued shortly afterwards. The sper- 
maceti whale occasionally frequents this littoral ; the bottle- 
nose whale appears in shoals, and follows the herrings and 
other migratory fish into the bays and inlets of the coast, " one 
of the signs of fish " (as fishermen express it) is the appearance 
of these whales. The basking-shark or true sun-fish varies in 
length from thirty to forty feet, and in the summer months 
they were formerly numerous off the Sligo coast. The value 
of the spermaceti whale at the commencement of the century 
was very great, that of the basking-shark, 45 ; foreign com- 
petition, however, has now reduced that amount considerably. 
In the year 1884, two of the latter species, each nearly thirty 
feet in length, were captured, and their combined value did not 
exceed 30. The ordinary sun-fish is not uncommon, and 
seals are very frequently seen on the coast. The Sligo coast 
fishery extends from Ballina Bridge to Mullaghmore. In 1850, 
it employed 575 registered vessels, with 3263 men and boys ; in 
1853 the number of vessels had decreased to 216, and the 
crews to 1269, whilst in 1888, in the whole extent of coast from 
Ballina bridge to Donegal Abbey (or twenty miles in excess of 
the former limits) there were but 209 boats with 889 men. 

At Inniscrone the fishermen use nets, lines, lobster-pots, 
and trawl-nets ; and nearly every description of fish is taken. 
At Pollacheeny, Derkmore, &c., cod, pollock, haddock, whiting, 
herrings, mackerel, plaice, &c., are taken. 


There is but little fishing carried on at Eosses Point, as the 
boatmen are mostly farmers and pilots, who do not fish much 
unless the herrings or mackerel come close to the shore ; but 
from Eaughly trawling is constantly carried on in Sligo Bay. 
The opposition which existed for some time against the trawlers 
has now ceased, and, wonderful to narrate, one of their greatest 
opponents is now owner of a very successful boat. Eaughly 
appears to be the best fishing station. In one year were taken 
40,000 cod, 20,000 pollock, 2000 soles, 100 turbot, 25,000 
mackerel, 20,000 herrings, 40,000 flat-fish, 6000 lobsters, and 
2000 crabs. Mullaghmore is next in importance ; and the 
boats belonging to this harbour are larger and better found 
than those of Eaughly. Mullaghmore harbour, however, is a 
failure : the only good effected by it has been to prevent the 
fishery, of which it was the centre, from completely dying out. 

The oyster beds on the Sligo coast are now very poor, and do 
not appear to repay the money and care bestowed upon them. 
The principal are Sligo, Drumcliff, Lissadell, and Ballysadare. 
There are a considerable number of mussels shipped for con- 
sumption in England. 

By a return received, it would appear that the total amount 
issued by the Irish Eeproductive Loan Fund to poor fishermen 
in the fourteen years to 31st December, 1888, was but 4962, 
of which almost the entire is repaid. 

Prior to 1847 salmon might be caught at any period of the 
year in the Sligo river ; but the time was then restricted from the 
1st January to the 20th August. In 1863 the close season was 
extended to the 14th February, and no fishing was permitted on 
Saturday or Sunday ; for each net employed, a licence which 
cost 3 had to be taken out. 

An inquiry was held in 1871 by the Fishery Inspectors, who 
granted certificates for fixed nets, and also changed the time of 
opening from 14th February to 16th January. Another inquiry 
took place a few years later, when the time was extended from 
the 16th to the 1st January, as, from scientific investigation, it 
was established that the fish in the Sligo river run as early as 


the months of November and December, and are then perfectly 
clean and fit for food ; in fact, fresh run fish are seen about the 
middle of October. Repeated experiments were made during 
winter as to the quality of fish in the tidal part of the river, 
some being taken on different occasions. No unclean fish 
were captured during any of these experiments; they were 
all clean run, fresh from the sea, and of the finest quality. 
These, if allowed to be sold, would bring a high price at 
that time of the year, when the markets are supplied only 
with foreign fish. 

It seems surprising that the Sligo and Bally sadare rivers, 
being in such close proximity, should differ so much in the date 
of their respective fishing seasons, the principal run of fish in 
the former being in January, in the latter in May. But Sligo 
river flows, with but a short channel, from Lough Gill ; and, 
as has been observed by a writer on the subject, rivers issuing 
from large lakes afford early salmon, the waters having been 
purified by deposition. On the other hand, rivers swollen by 
melting snows in the spring months are later in their season of 
producing fish, and yield their supply when the lake rivers are 
beginning to fail ; experts seem undecided as to the causes of 
this, but apparently the temperature of the water has consider- 
able influence. 

The quantity of breeding fish in the Sligo river is stated to 
be increasing of late ; and angling for trout is stopped in April 
and May, during the descent of the fry. Preparatory to the 
process of spawning, the male and female salmon, working 
against the stream, make a furrow in the gravel, and in this 
furrow the spawn is deposited, and the female covers it by 
the action of her tail. The period of hatching is from 100 to 
140 days ; the young appear as small fry, less than an inch in 
length. In the second year the young are known as smolts ; 
and the smolts betake themselves in groups to the sea, where 
they become grilse. When these return to the sea, after having 
reascended the river, they become full-grown salmon. If fry 
were taken direct from the fresh and put into the salt water, 
they would not live more than a few minutes., 


Grilse must grow with great rapidity ; for those caught in 
the month of May average three pounds, while in August they 
are up to eight pounds weight. 

There is migration of smolts all the year, but it is heaviest 
in April, May, and June. The first grilse is taken about June 
in Sligo, and July in Ballysadare. Salmon are taken, with the 
grilse, in Sligo in the month of May, and in Ballysadare in 
July. The proportion of grilse to salmon in Sligo is 1 to 3, 
and in Ballysadare 15 to 1. There are three distinct runs of 
fish from the sea in January, and runs also in April, May, June, 
October, and November. 

Great quantities of eels and ordinary fresh- water fish were 
formerly caught ; but this fishing has been nearly quite aban- 
doned, owing to the low prices. 1 

In 1841 Mr. Cooper succeeded in getting the river of Bally- 
sadare created, by Act of Parliament, a several Fishery as far as 
the bar, he having, for the upper waters, arrived at an under- 
standing with the landed proprietors on both sides of the river. 
Above Ballysadare, in the fresh water, owners can angle from 
their own lands. The construction of the ladders at Ballysadare- 
falls (see fig. 44) and Collooney, together with other necessary 
outlay and legal expenses, must have amounted to a considerable 
sum, but for many years very few fish were caught. Suddenly 
the fishing improved, and has ever since proved most profitable. 
The number of salmon taken in the course of the last six 
years is as follows : 


No. of fish. 


No. of fish. 


. . . 4,272 


. . . 7,400 


. . . 7,665 


. . . 8,223 


. - - 6,674 


. . . 6,692 

1 The average price of salmon varied greatly. In 1756 it was 2d. per 
pound ; in 1833, 2tf. ; 1834, 4d. ; 1851, Is. Ofrf. ; 1871, Is. 5d. ; 1889, 
Is. Bf* A few returns of the take of fish on the Sligo river ma y be of 
interest : 


No. offish. 



No. of fish. 





. 1,094 . 


2,220 . 



. 1,064 . 


1,621 . 



1,464 . 


1,684 . 



According to the information supplied by Mr. J. W. Scott 
(Manager) the largest fish caught during the above period 
weighed 27 J Ibs., and the greatest number taken at one draft, 
was 497 weighing 1 ton, 11 cwts. 

In 1885 a salmon was caught having a peculiar head; 
its nose was curved like a hawk's bill. This fish was given 
to Sir E. Harland to be preserved. 

During the last six or seven years, the proprietor, with 
the object of improving the quality of the fish, engaged in 
the artificial propagation of large quantities of ova, obtained 
from the Sligo and Ballyshannon rivers, as also from the 
Rhine ; it may be stated that ova from the two former streams 
have also been exported to New Zealand. 

The Ballina salmon fishery is the most important in the 
district ; in the year 1778 it was let for the then heavy rent of 
520 a-year ; the general yield being from 70 to 80 tons of fish 
sold salted, besides what was sold fresh. But in 1815 there was 
none salted for exportation, and all those caught during the 
months in which they would bear to be carried were sent to the 
Dublin market. 

With regard to sea fishing for salmon, there had been 
bag-nets at Mullaghmore, at Eosskeeragh, at Streedagh, at 
Dromore West, at Enniscrone, but the Act passed in 1863 
abolished all these ; afterwards, however, in 1866 an inquiry 
was held by the Fishery Inspectors, and the nets at Enniscrone 
and at Streedagh were restored ; there are now at the former 
place no less than 34 nets employed, each being 400 yards in 
length, and from Easky to Aughris, 18 boats are fishing, with 
nets of equal length. 

Before the opening of the railway to Ballina in 1865, 
all salmon about 500 boxes annually caught on that part 
of the Mayo and Tireragh shore were shipped by steamer to 
Liverpool from the port of Sligo. 

Salted fish of all descriptions together with sloke (or laver) 
were largely imported into Eoscommon from Sligo. 

S 2 


In the year 1778 the lead mine near Ballysadare was worked, 
but proved unrenmnerative. 

Writing in 1802 M'Parlan states that iron works had been 
carried on by Mr. Eutledge in the County Sligo, until the 
neighbouring woods were consumed as fuel. The works were 
then transferred to Foxford. 

The northern mountainous district on the confines of Lough 
Allen, partly in Leitrim, partly in Eoscommon, and forming 
the celebrated coal and iron district of Arigna, calls for a short 
notice, although but a comparatively small portion lies imme- 
diately within the confines of the County Sligo. A peculiarity 
of these coal-seams is, that the beds all lie at a considerable 
elevation in the mountains where their out- crop may be dis- 
tinctly traced in various places. The coal though not equal to 
Scotch or English is adapted for culinary or manufacturing 
purposes; in 1770 coal from these workings was sold in the 
southern part of the County Sligo, at 7s. per ton. 

The first important era in the mining district was the estab- 
lishment of iron works at Arigna in 1788, but the concern was 
abandoned in 1808. In consequence of the evidence of Mr. 
Griffith before a Committee of the House of Commons in 1824, 
three mining companies made the borders of Lough Allen the 
scene of revived activity ; several new pits were formed, the 
largest of which was worked to advantage for a long time, but 
after various vicissitudes all the undertakings collapsed. Until 
the works are opened up by railway they cannot prove re- 
munerative, for although no question was entertained relative 
to the good quality of the iron manufactured, still it was found 
that owing to want of facilities of transit, neither the pig nor 
bar iron could be successfully brought into competition in the 
public markets with the supplies from England, Scotland, and 

Mr. Latouche, who for some years carried on the works at a 
serious loss, used in after-life to point out to his visitors a large 
and handsome entrance gate to his demesne, and ask them 



whether they had ever seen so costly a piece of workmanship. 
The gate was a good one, but there was nothing extraordinary 
in its appearance, so whilst his guest was hesitating with regard 
to his reply, Mr. Latouche would say, " I can venture to assert 
that you never before saw a gate which cost the owner so 
much ; that gate cost me ,80,000, for it is the only thing I 
ever got out of the Arigna Ironworks, in return for all my 
money expended there." 

What is wanted is a light railway to connect the coal fields 
with the port of Sligo. 



HE County of Sligo, while possessing attractions for 
the tourist and the antiquarian, affords also an in- 
teresting field of research to the student of geology. 
Its physical geography is of varied type; it is 
mountainous in the north and west, where the 
principal ranges extend from the County Leitrim on the 
east, right across to the borders of Mayo. In the south 
are the Curlews a range composed of Old Bed Sandstone, 
running east by north and west by south. The Ox Mountains 
are metamorphic ; but Benbulben is of Carboniferous limestone, 
as are also the outlying hills, such as Knocknarea, Keelogyboy, 
Castlegal, Keash, Muckelty, and Knocknashee. A large extent 
of country is undulating ; and there are numerous flat patches 
of bog. 

Of natural curiosities, a series of caves in the limestone 
(already described, vol. i., pp. 375-8) may be mentioned ; and 
there are numerous sea- caves, as at Aughris, Dirk, Eaughly, 
&c., not requiring particular mention here. 

A glance at the geological map shows that Sligo forms 
part of the great limestone plain of Ireland. A strip, differently 
coloured, representing various igneous and metamorphic rocks, 
such as granite, quartzite, mica schist, gneiss, extends across 
the county from the shores of Lough Conn, in Mayo, to 
Benbo Hill, in Leitrim, where it ends abruptly. The Ox 
Mountains form the Sligo portion of this metamorphic band, 
whose conical or dome-shaped outlines are in marked con- 
trast to the bold escarpments and terraces of the mountain- 



limestone further north, that extend between Sligo Bay and 
Lough Erne, overlooking the south shores of Donegal Bay. 
These limestone hills are the result of erosion and denuda- 
tion by the scooping out of the valleys. The Ox range 
are true mountains of elevation, upheaved probably after the 
deposition of the Carboniferous limestone series, as along 
their southern base the beds dip steadily away from the higher 
ground ; boulder- drift, bog, &c., prevent this being observable 
on the northern side. The granite found on high ground, south- 
west of Lough Talt, much resembles the same class of rock 
that occurs at Pontoon and Foxford, while the hills to east and 
north-east of the lake are composed almost exclusively of mica 
schist. At " The Gap " (see fig. 36, p. 197) there is a fault, 
where the foliation of the schists, instead of being parallel to 
the general axis of the range, becomes parallel to the fault. On 
the hills east of Lough Easky, granite is very perceptible, 
presenting the mamillated knolls so peculiar to that rock ; in 
places it is highly porphyritic, owing to large crystals of pink 

Further east in the range the prevailing rock is gneiss, 
usually gray in colour, weathering to a lighter shade, sometimes 
coarse-grained, like granite (as found east of Ballysadare, where 
the mica is abundant, and dark- coloured), and often intensely 
gnarled. Gneiss, through the disappearance of felspar and 
mica, frequently becomes highly quartzose, and passes into 
quartzite and quartzite schist. 

Among the Ox Mountains are examples of the results of 
metamorphic action in the production of varieties of crystalline 
rocks, depending on the character of the original strata ; thus, 
there are found, in rotation, beds of granitoid gneiss, mica 
schist, quartzite, and crystalline limestone, whose original com- 
position was, in all probability, sandstone, shale, grit, or lime- 
stone. A small exposure of these old rocks occurs also at 
intervals on the low, undulating headland of "The Bosses," 
between Sligo and Brumcliff Bays. This tract stretches 
eastward for nearly three miles, and the rocks present con- 
siderable variety in their composition. From observations 


of these rocks of the Ox range and "The Bosses," it is 
assumed that they formed the ancient surface of the ground 
prior to Carboniferous times. As they extend over a large area 
in the same relative position with regard to the overlying 
Carboniferous limestone, it is a fair supposition that they like- 
wise underlie the great limestone and sandstone formations 
of this district, and are of great geological antiquity, coeval, 
perhaps, with the Laurentian system (the oldest known strati- 
fied rocks). 

Dividing the band of gneiss at the shore of Bunowna 
Bay, Lough Grill (west of Slish Wood), and running south for 
nearly two miles, with an average width of 500 feet, is a band 
of serpentine, dark-coloured, hard, compact rock, showing planes 
of lamination in the mass, and a disposition to split up into beds 
of various thicknesses. Geologists recognize it as metamorphic, 
but are not agreed as to its exact mode of origin ; there is a 
probability of its having been produced by the metamorphism 
of magnesian limestone. This exposure of serpentine is remark- 
able for its extent, and for containing " the highest on record " 
percentage of magnetite (a mineral that attracts and repels the 
magnetic needle), so much so, that some portions of the rock 
possess all the characters of natural magnets. Nickel and 
garnets are also present. 

From a study of the old crystalline areas on the map, it will 
be seen that along little more than a third of their boundaries 
are they in contact with the succeeding formations, and ex- 
posures of the actual junctions are very rare, the older and 
newer rocks meeting, in most cases, along concealed lines of 
fault. Notwithstanding the prevalence of these dislocations, 
there ie sufficient evidence to indicate a total discordance, and, 
consequently, the lapse of a long interval between the periods 
at which the old crystalline and the newer Carboniferous were 
formed. The absence of rocks deposited during this great 
interval goes far to prove the decided break in the geolo- 
gical series. It has been already noted that there was 
a floor or surface formed of crystalline rocks, worn into 
ridges and hollows like those of a land surface ; but 


as the Carboniferous deposits resting immediately on this 
floor are marine, the old land alluded to must have subsided 
beneath the sea, in which were laid down all the various Car- 
boniferous series covering the irregularities, overlapping and 
levelling over parts of the Archaean ridge. 

There is ample proof that the whole region was subsequently 
raised out of the water and subjected to the operation of 
erosive agencies that came into action immediately after the 
earliest appearance of a land surface. This original surface 
has long since disappeared, and with it the newer Carboni- 
ferous strata; but it may be presumed that the outlines on 
which these agencies continued to act were those originated at 
an early stage, and that they have mainly followed the same 
directions ever since, wearing away the mountains, and deepen- 
ing and widening the natural hollows of the ground. 

Devonian rocks, which are the marine representatives of Old 
Eed Sandstone, do not, so far as is known, exist in Ireland, where 
this formation is found to be of lacustrine, or fresh-water 
origin, deposited below the waters of a large lake or inland sea. 
Old Eed Sandstone is largely represented in the south-west 
of Ireland, but not so much in the centre and north ; it consists 
of sandstones, conglomerates, shales, slates containing fossils 
only of a fresh-water type, very distinct from those marine 
animals, so well described by Hugh Miller. In the north of 
the county there is no connecting-link between the metamorphic 
and Carboniferous ; in the south the succession is better main- 
tained ; for, immediately underlying the Carboniferous series, 
comes in the Old Eed Sandstone, of which there is only a small 
area within the county, limited to that portion of the Curlew 
range on each side of Lough G-ara. " The Curlews " proper 
are in Eoscommon, and are interesting from the presence of 
certain intrusive igneous rocks. Of these, felstone shows 
several exposures capping the Old Eed Sandstone hills north of 
Boyle ; they are also well exhibited along the road at the 
" Eock of Doon," west of Lough Key, while several dykes of 
basalt have been traced in the same neighbourhood, just outside 
the boundary of Sligo. 


The Carboniferous system is largely represented in Sligo by 
Upper, Middle (calp),and Lower Limestone, and Lower Carboni- 
ferous Sandstone. Over an anticlinal of this latter subdivision, the 
road from Dromore West to Sligo passes for a mile and a-half, 
about the average width of the formation which extends from 
the sea to the Ox range, a distance of four miles. The same 
sandstone also occurs west of Aclare, with a north-easterly 
strike for some miles along the base of the metamorphic ridge. 
Associated with the Middle Limestone is found a series of reddish 
yellow, brown, and white sandstones, grits, &c., known as 
" calp " sandstones, that spread their nearly horizontal beds 
over the whole of the northern part of the Cliffoney district, 
between the foot of the mountain and the sea, and re-appear in 
the Mullaghmore promontory, and the island of Inismurray. 
Beds of calp limestone are found unusually fossiliferous in this 
district, as at the " Serpent " rock, which derives its rather 
fanciful name from the masses of large curved cylindrical 
corals, well exposed by weathering. A mile east of this the 
beds are cut by a four-foot dyke of basalt. The rocks on the 
shore, west of Streedagh House, abound in specimens of fossil 
corals, as Zaphrentis cyllndrica^ 18 to 24 inches in length, and 
two or three inches in diameter, which project from the surface 
of the beds, that are themselves often largely formed of such 
cluster corals as Lithostrotion. There are also large-sized 
brachiopods, as Prodnctus and Spirifer. Similar beds at 
" Gibraltar " (two miles west of Sligo), contain Zaphrentis, 
locally styled " rams' horns ; " and it is frequently seen on 
both sides of Ballysadare Bay. The Lower Carboniferous Lime- 
stone is, in some places, represented by a brown or gray 
crystalline magnesian limestone (dolomite), as at Eosses Point; 
to the north of Ballintogher, by light and dark gray compact 
limestone, having a metallic ring when struck. At Ballysadare 
it affords an excellent building stone (dark gray and sub- 
crystalline), capable of being used for tombstones, &c. &c. 
The Upper Limestone occupies a large aggregate extent of the 
county ; Lough Gill is almost entirely surrounded by it ; so is 
Lough Arrow, and the intermediate Barony of Tirerrill is largely 


composed of this rock, which also forms a capping to the lime- 
stone mountains already mentioned. This limestone is usually 
pure, light gray or bluish, and massive ; at many points the 
beds are highly fossiliferous, containing corals, encrinitea, &c. 
Chert, a siliceous material resembling flint, is of common 
occurrence, concretionary or bedded ; and the limestone itself 
is sometimes amorphous in structure, " rubbly," as seen at 
Keash and other places in that district. 

The upper members of the Carboniferous group include the 
Coal Measures, remnants of a once widely extended formation, 
but which has been almost entirely swept away by the agents 
of denudation that have given to the north-east of the county 
its remarkably bold physical features, its high table-lands, and 
deep and broad valleys, with the terraced escarpments that 
bound them. What is known as the " Connaught Coal Field " 
extends only a short way into Sligo ; it is described as (1) the 
south-west district (Arigna), County Roscommon; (2), the north- 
west district adjoining ; (3), the Slieve-an-Ieran district, includ- 
ing all coal-bearing strata east of Lough Allen, County Leitrim. 
In two townlands in Sligo, Ballinashee and Straduff, pits have 
been sunk yielding coal from a seam sixteen to seventeen inches 
thick. These Coal Measures may be looked on as fragments of 
a once extensive coal field. They afford a clay-ironstone of 
good quality, containing as high as 41 per cent, of the metal, 
and formerly made use of for smelting purposes. 

As a result of geological investigations we need not hope to 
find coal in Sligo, unless it be in the small area in the Geevagh 
district, which forms the west extremity of the Roscommon 
coalfield. Want of such knowledge has led to some serious 
mistakes. Nearly fifty years ago a shaft was sunk at Knock- 
vicar, east of Lough Key, through Lower Carboniferous 
Sandstone, in a fruitless search for coal. A Mr. O'Beirne, 
of Jamestown, spent several thousand pounds sinking a shaft 
with a similar result through the base of Yoredale beds into 
Upper Limestone. He acted on the advice of some "prac- 
tical men " who were ignorant of the simplest principles of 
geology. The Carboniferous strata of Sligo are lower in the 


geological scale than the true Coal Measures. If these latter ever 
existed in the county they have been denuded, and removed 
by agencies already indicated. On this supposition it might be 
conjectured that if Knocknarea or Benbulben were 1000 or 
1500 feet higher, workable seams of coal would exist on their 

In Sligo, as has been observed, there is an interval in geologic 
sequence between the old metamorphic ridge and the Lower Car- 
boniferous beds. A still larger gap is apparent immediately 
above the Coal Measures, as the extensive series of Permean, Tri- 
assic, Jurassic, and Cretaceous are absent, together with all the 
Tertiary deposits down to the Post-Pliocene Drift. This latter 
includes Lower and Upper Boulder- clay, and covers probably 
nine-tenths of the entire surface of the County, rising to con- 
siderable heights on the flanks of the mountains. Boulder- 
clay is the offspring of a period characterized by extreme cold, 
the " Great Ice Age," in which the rains and rivers of the 
present day were represented by snow, sheets of ice, and 
glaciers, similar to the condition of things now prevailing in 
Greenland. Lower Boulder-clay is very stiff and solid, of a 
dark-blue or reddish colour, and containing blocks, pebbles, and 
fragments of various rocks in every possible position. Such 
blocks are of all sizes, either angular, sub-angular (with edges 
and corners worn off), or rounded ; they often have their sides 
planed down, and covered with scars or groovings, which are 
generally well preserved on blocks of limestone recently dis- 
lodged from their surroundings. The clay itself is seldom 
laminated, like that of aqueous formation. It is generally 
structureless, and the stones are found in vertical or inclined 
positions, unlike those that have been strewn under water. 
Several areas are devoid of boulder-clay, such as parts of the 
Ox range east and west of Ballysadare, and a good deal of 
the more rugged portions of the Upper Limestone heights and 
prominences. A marked difference is observed between the 
Drift on the north and that on the south side of the Ox Moun- 
tains. A large number of blocks, chiefly gneiss, are embedded 
in and scattered over the surface of the Drift north of the range, 


evidently derived from it. The direction of the ice-movement, 
all along the tract ranging from Sligo Bay to Lough Conn, 
has been determined by numerous observations ( made by the 
Rev. Maxwell Close and others, both from the striations of 
rocks and the transport of erratics) to have been towards the 
north-west. This is well shown by glaciated rounded bosses, 
called " roches moutonnees," in the deer-park at Markree and in 
Union Wood; also north of Collooney station, where "crag and 
tail " are very apparent; the " tail " being ground down by the 
powerful ice-sheet advancing from the south-east, while the 
" crag " or bluff, facing in the opposite direction, suffered little 
from attrition. Travelled blocks of granite or schist from the 
Ox range are scattered over the Carboniferous plain to the 
north ; of these the stone circles and cromlechs of Carrowmore 
are formed, and similar boulders are found near the summit of 
Knocknarea (limestone, 1078 feet). The converse of this is 
seen south of the eighth milestone on the road from Sligo to 
Ballina, where a block of rubbly limestone, weighing about 
twenty-three tons, rests on a ridge of gneiss some 400 feet above 
sea-level ; such a boulder must have travelled several miles to 
reach its present position. Near the old churchyard of Kil- 
morgan, and scattered more or less thickly over an area of half 
a square mile are an immense number of boulders of the same 
kind of rubbly limestone (with bands of " chert ") of which the 
Hill of Keash, two miles to the south-east, is chiefly composed. 
They look as if they had been thrown at random in a battle of 
giants. Ice is the only agency to account for their transport. 
It did its work, however, not in the form of a glacier, but 
through means of icebergs that grounded and dropped their 
burdens in shallow water hereabouts. Huge granite boulders 
from the Slieve Gamph Hills are found on the high ground 
south of Lough Talt, some of which weigh over 100 tons each, 
and have, perhaps, a couple of feet of peat and heather on the 
top. In the low ground about here are rarely found any but 
small erratics, similar to the underlying Carboniferous strata. 
Striae, and "roches moutonnees" also agree in indicating a 
north-west ice-flow. 


Between Tubbercurry and Cloonacool large boulders of mica 
schist are plentiful, increasing in number as the hills are 
approached. Their position and size force us to believe that 
ice was the only adequate transporting agent. Some limestone 
blocks may also be mentioned that rest on the Upper Limestone 
at Highwood, north of Lough Arrow. These are interesting 
from their shape and size. One styled the " Eglone," a rect- 
angular column, weighing some 70 tons, stands 18 feet high, to 
which were originally united two adjacent masses of rock, till 
split off by weathering. Another is a rocking-stone. More than a 
mile to the west, in the townland of Carrickglass, a tabular 
block (about 70 tons), that has peat and heather growing on the 
top, forms the covering-stone of a so-called " giant's grave." 

The salient features in the geology of Sligo are (1) the 
enormous denudation of the Carboniferous beds in the north- 
east ; (2) the position and structure of the metamorphic ridge ; 
and (3) the many interesting indications of the movement of 
the ice- sheet. It may assist in conveying an idea of this 
general denudation if we try to estimate the quantity of material 
that would be required to fill up even one of the excavated 
valleys say Glencar. A mass adequate for this purpose would 
need to be nine miles long, with a breadth of two miles at each 
end, and one in the centre, and a vertical thickness ranging 
from 400 to 1100 feet. And yet the gap, large as it is, is but 
a small part of the total excavation that has left the adjacent 
mountains standing out in conspicuous relief. At and near the 
boundaries of the metamorphic ridge often occur great lines 
of faulting that run in various directions, and have greatly 
disturbed the tranquillity with which the deposition of the great 
Carboniferous strata took place. The traces of such disturbances 
are well displayed in the limestone exposures north-east of 
Ballysadare, at Belladrihid, where the beds are tilted at high 
angles. The complex dislocation in this locality forms a link 
between the great break that exists to the westward and that 
which forms the northern boundary of the metamorphic band 
eastward, and which has been traced for upwards of twenty-five 


Although evidences of glaciation are not wanting throughout 
the county, it is westward from Collooney, along the Ox 
range, and to the north of it, that the chief interest lies : not all, 
however, confined to the limits of Sligo. The glacialist, if he 
pursue his investigations into Mayo, will find, near Foxford and 
Pontoon, on the shores of Lough Conn and the flanks of Nephin, 
many well-marked and unmistakable tokens of the ice-move- 
ment as exhibited in " perched blocks," boulders, striae, " roches 
moutonnees," and the general configuration of the ground. 

In conclusion, a few observations may be made with regard 
to raised- beaches those very recent examples of geological 
activity. Portions of the coast of Drumcliff Bay, near Carney, 
which contain shells of oysters; clams, periwinkles, &c., are 
now from four to six or seven feet above high- water mark. In 
Sligo Bay, at Ballincar, and near "Gibraltar," there are also silty 
deposits with cockles and other shells embedded, all now well 
beyond the reach of the tide. A larger area of similar character 
on the north shore of Ballysadare Bay, and forming a sort of 
peninsula seldom if ever overflowed by the sea, seems to indicate 
a slight elevation of the land in comparatively modern times. 1 

Irish names of localities are generally descriptive, either of 
the peculiarities of the configuration of the ground in the 
immediate vicinity, or of some prominent object or objects 
which there attracted attention. In the " Field-Name Books " 
of the Ordnance Survey (which are now in the Mountjoy Bar- 
racks, Phoenix Park), the Irish name, English orthography, 
and translation of every townland name in Ireland is given so 
far as O'Donovan was able to ascertain at the time, i. e. some 
half -century ago. In Appendix I. a transcript of the MS. is 
given so for as relates to the County Sligo without alteration 
or annotation, on the authority of O'Donovan. Some of the 
translations are now, by the best authorities, considered 
erroneous, but the vast majority are correct. 

1 Robert A. Duke, the writer of the above description of the Geology of 
Sligo, expresses his indebtedness to the admirable Memoirs and Maps of the 
Geological Survey, and to Professor Hull's work on the " Physical Geology 
and Geography of Ireland." 


Tourists in Ireland rush off to view the Lakes of 
Killarney or the wilds of Connemara, but comparatively 
few visit the County Sligo, the picturesqueness of which is 
but little known to the general public. The seaside 
scenery is not equal to that of Clare, Kerry, or Donegal ; 
the mountains are not remarkable for altitude, but it is in their 
varied outline that their charm lies. Seen from the high road 
between Bundoran and Sligo the mountains are of extreme 
beauty ; the last peak that of Benbulben seems actually 
to overhang at the top, and forms a fitting termination to the 
long range, from whose summits may be viewed a great stretch 
of country extending from the Donegal Highlands to the far 
wilds of Mayo, and then away inland, till nothing but a blue 
haze terminates the horizon. The Benbulben range appears as 
if clothed to the very summits with grass, which a writer has 
described as so " brilliantly green that in the bright sunshine 
it absolutely dazzles the eyes." For miles together there is 
apparently no vestige of heath ; all appears green above, below, 
around ; but the summits are in reality a vast moorland 
indeed, in Sligo, moor is found where least expected. The 
mountain range stretching from Lough Gill almost to Ballina, 
the Curlew Hills, and the Slieve-an-ieran Mountains on its 
borders towards Leitrim and Eoscommon, with detached out- 
lying hills of all forms, sizes, and outlines, are regular in nothing 
but their irregularity. 

Of the Sligo lakes the largest and best known is Lough Gill, 
which is very generally considered to resemble the Upper Lake 
of Killarney. " The scenery," remarks Inglis, " is not stupen- 
dous, scarcely even anywhere bold, but it is beautiful exceed- 
ingly," and being but two miles from the town of Sligo, and 
accessible from it by boat, is better known than any other sheet 
of water in the county. 

Petrie has left some beautiful sketches of Sligo scenery : one 
of his chef d'ceuvres is a view of Lough Gill as it appeared 
upwards of half a century ago, before its surrounding woods 
had grown to their present size, and before some parts had 
been even planted. 



The surface of Lough Gill is but twenty feet above high- 
water mark, and the depth is considerable. In the year 1880 
soundings in the lake were taken by the late E. T. Hardman, 
of the Geological Survey, with the following results : The 
principal section ran along the centre of the lake from end to 
end, commencing at the exit of the Eiver Gar vogue (fig. 45), 
passing by the south shore of Church Island, and continuing on 
to Shriff Bay. The depths along this line were in some places 
considerable ; between Cottage Island and Church Island 65 
feet ; one mile from the latter island 96 feet ; a little further 
on, eastward, it was 97 feet ; other depths were 99, 105, and 116 
feet, the last being the greatest yet found, and this lay a little 
more than a mile from the east end of Church Island and one 
mile three-quarters from the east end of the lake ; from this on 
to the termination of the section at Shriff, the lake shallowed 
again. The other section showed 63 feet at thirty yards from 
the shore, increasing to 88 and 103 feet the latter depth being 
found half a mile east of Goat Island, directly opposite to Bun- 
owna Bay ; from Church Island to Holy well, and from thence 
to Wolf Island, near the Garvogue River, the greatest depths 
were 34 and 41 feet respectively (see fig. 45). At the time 
these soundings were taken the water was exceptionally low 
at least 10 feet below the ordinary winter level so that it 
would be necessary to add 5 feet to the above figures in order 
to obtain the average depth. The waters of Lough Gill are 
retained practically in a rock basin, and the surplus water escapes 
over beds of limestone lying in a nearly horizontal position. 

At the extreme south-east limit of the county is Lough 
Arrow, a large lake with an irregular outline ; it is four and 
a-half miles in length by about two in breadth. Lough Arrow 
is peculiar in having no river to supply it except the little brook 
from the Curlew Hills, which empties itself into it at Ballina- 
fad ; the water of the lake is clear, and is probably largely sup- 
plied by springs, seeing that a considerable stream issues from 
it, passing over a rock barrier near where it starts at Annagh. 

Beneath the lowest level to which the water ever falls, 
in Lough Gill as well as in Lough Arrow, the stumps of 



large trees, like a submerged forest, are in places observable. 
Mr. A. B. Wynne, F.G.S., who noticed the wasting of the boggy 
margin of the lake by wave action, has suggested a very 
ingenious explanation of this phenomenon ; he observed that the 
stools of the old trees, as well as those of the present day, 
spreading their roots horizontally, retained their position until 
the boggy ground they grew in had been almost entirely 
swept away. Deprived of the leverage which their stems 
previously broken off would have given, they had less to dis- 
arrange their natural pose, and when some storm of greater 
force than usual acted on them, the retaining roots snapped or 
drew, and each water-logged mass subsided to the bottom, 
sitting upon its broadest surface still in its natural position of 
growth, so that afterwards, looking down through the water, 
the trees appeared to have grown where seen. In large lakes 
such erosion of the banks is quite possible, but in small sheets 
of water, which do not present a sufficiently large surface to be 
violently agitated by the wind, the peaty bank would gradually 
encroach on the water. 

There is scarcely a lake or river in the county of which the 
surface does not require lowering : several have been improved, 
but in most cases the efforts have failed owing to want of com- 
bined action on the part of those interested. So far back as the 
year 1845, the late Mr. William Phibbs had a survey made of 
the bed of the River Owenmore, for the purpose of freeing 
upwards of 1500 acres from constant flooding. The damaged 
land was estimated by the surveyor as worth about one-half more 
if freed of water. 

Bally gawley, or Ballydawley Lake styled Lough Gas in the 
survey of 1809-1818 picturesquely situated at the foot of the 
Slieve-da-en range of mountains, is embosomed in wood which 
may be viewed as now representing the primeval mantle that had 
formerly covered the neighbouring slopes. Some years ago the 
level of the water was considerably reduced by drainage, and 
the site of a Lake Dwelling was discovered. 

In Lough Talt are the remains of three (stone) crannogs 
(see page 197). One of them is still well defined, and the sites 


can all be explored owing to the former lake level having been 
lowered some sixty years ago. On the site that is still entirely 
surrounded by water were discovered a beam probably a part 
of the original wooden structure a good specimen of a bone 
arrow-head, fragments of polished and worked bone, as also 
teeth and bones of oxen, sheep, and horses. 

Glencar Lake, situated between the counties of Sligo and 
Leitrim, is surrounded by mountains. The lake, nearly two 
miles in length, fills the lower part of the valley, and adds 
considerably to its attractions; but even if there were no 
lake it could still lay claim to almost peerless beauty. The 
mountains rise up on each side so steeply, that they seem, except 
in a few places, altogether inaccessible. To the north lies the 
Benbulben, and to the south the Castlegal range, with its gray 
limestone cliffs resembling ancient weather-beaten fortifications 
and its slopes in part clothed with plantations of fir. 

The waterfalls at Glencar are objects of interest, especially 
the one known as Sruth-an-ail-an-ard (the stream against the 
height), or the " Waterflight," so called from its being some- 
times blown upwards. This is seen to most advantage after 
heavy rain with a stiff breeze from the south, the wind getting 
underneath at the point where the water falls over the edge of 
the cliff, so as to form a column leaning more or less back towards 
the hills, or breaking into spray over the grass above. With less 
wind, a smaller stream looks like ascending smoke. 1 

"When tourists think of glens, they almost always imagine 
dark, gloomy defiles, like Glendalough or the Crap of Dunloe, 

1 Some years ago, from the summit of the Pfandlescharte-pass, in the Tyrol, 
Mr. R. A. Duke happened to witness a remarkable display by a large glacier 
torrent under similar circumstances. Delayed in his progress by a heavy 
gust of wind, he saw at a distance of a couple of miles what appeared like a 
huge cream-coloured ostrich-plume, 80 to 100 feet long, curved backwards 
from the edge of a high perpendicular cliff, and perfectly motionless. As 
the wind moderated the curved plume became a vertical column, which 
gradually sank down to its base and became a simple waterfall, continuing 
such till the next squall began. Then the falling water tucked itself up, 
the column reappeared a moment in its old position, and then, almost with 
a jerk, curved back into the plume, and remained fixed as when first ob- 



but Grlencar, while infinitely grander than either, has not a 
particle of gloom about it. It is a laughing glen, and seems to 
woo the traveller into its recess with a smile. Surrounded as it 
is with gigantic hills of strange and monstrous shapes, it inspires 
no feelings of awe. It is well cultivated, thickly studded with 
cottages, and lies open to the sunlight ; and the steep sides of the 
mountains that wall it in are everywhere covered with a thick 
growth of the greenest grass. In these accessories we have the 
secret of its peculiar beauty ; they have made it a cheerful, 
joyous valley instead of a glen of gloom." 

In great contrast to this scenery, which is on an almost 
alpine scale, is the miniature cleft in the side of Knocknarea, 
commonly known as " The Glen." 

Lady Morgan, in her Patriotic Sketches (1807), thus describes 

" This romantic glen, rich in all that irregularity so essential to the 
true picturesque, seems to have been produced by some convulsion of 
nature ; and the rocks in many places are so perfectly concave and con- 
vex, that it appears as if another shock would unite them again in one 
solid mass. The strained eye becomes dazzled in the contemplation 
of their altitude, while it reposes with delight on the beautiful variety 
of vivid hues which stain their shelving sides ; on the rich foliage of 
the shrubs that hang their fantastic drapery over the rugged projec- 
tions ; or on the bending trees which seem to shoot from their deep 
crevices without the aid of earth to nourish their bare and interwoven 
roots, while innumerable torrents dashing from the pointed summits of 
the highest cliffs flow at their base in one pellucid stream ; or rushing 
with congregated force over roots of trees, or projecting rocks, fall 
into some deep cavity, and form an elevated and natural basin, 
shaded by the luxuriancy of the overhanging shrubs. 

" The Glen is sometimes overflown by these torrents, while the 
immense masses of rock, covered with moss and lichens which they 
force down at intervals in their steep descent, construct for the steps 
of the adventurous wanderer a species of little causeway, and the over- 
arching of the cliffs seems to threaten destruction from above ; or by 
a conjunction of their respective shrubs forms a leafy canopy almost 
impervious to the beams of the sun. That even some degree of moral 
charm should not be wanting . . . the rocks in many places assume the 
appearance of spacious ruins, sometimes rising in light and spiral 
shafts, sometimes rudely broken in irregular masses, while fancied 


cloisters, imaginary fortresses, and ideal castles present themselves to 
the eye amidst the creeping underwood and clustering shrubs by which 
their grotesque forms are partially veiled. When the gloom seems 
deepest, and the opposite rocks almost knit their towering summits, 
the Glen abruptly terminates, and a beautiful sea-coast suddenly 
bursts upon the view the bay reflecting upon its bosom the opposite 
shores, spangled with white houses." 

Such had been the appearance of the Glen till about 50 
years ago, when Mr. Nicholson, the then proprietor of this 
charming spot, resolved to make a residence for himself at the 
end of the defile where the sea- coast opened to view. He pro- 
cured materials for the house by blasting the overhanging 
cliffs, and did much, damage to the original appearance of 
nature's handiwork. The Glen has now passed into other hands; 
all traces of the dwelling-house have disappeared, and this cleft 
on the mountain side still remains, a spot well worthy of a visit 
from lovers of the picturesque, although its beauty is no longer 
of the very wild and rugged type so admirably described by 
Lady Morgan. 

The County Sligo contains a gross total of 461,796 acres, 
of which 12,740 are covered by water. In the year 1881 it 
was computed that 225,099 acres were in pasture, 89,864 in 
tillage, which is year by year steadily decreasing, 1 7131 under 
plantation, and 126,962 acres consist of bogs and wastes of 
various descriptions, presenting a brown, desolate appearance, 
resembling the wilds of Mayo, which St. Patrick viewing from 
afar, when on one of his missionary tours, is reputed to have 
exclaimed: "I'll bless you any way, but sorrah a foot ever 
I'll set upon you." 

It is a mistaken idea that bogs are to be found only in low 
situations ; such is by no means the case ; they are on the 
summit of mountains as well as in the valleys. The expanses 
that in Ireland are commonly designated bogs would, in 

1 The acreage under crops was 76,672 acres, in the year 1847 ; 99,4-18 
acres in 1857 ; 92,346 acres in 1867 : 89,231 acres in 1877 ; 83,631 acres 
in 1887. The value of the crops in the year 1888 was computed to he- 
upwards of 550,000. 


England, be termed mosses. English marshes are in general 
composed of black, spongy, rotten vegetable matter, but the 
bogs in Ireland are formed of inert vegetable matter, covered 
more or less with an unproductive growth, and containing a 
large proportion of stagnant water. The difference between 
these conditions is that the former, when drained, produces 
excellent crops, whilst the inert vegetable matter of the latter 
throws out scarcely any growth. 

The increase of water under bogs that is to say, between 
the peat itself and the sub-(or former surface of the) soil may 
be so great as to float the entire mass away. Such catastrophes 
are by no means uncommon ; there are some cases recorded in 
ancient times, and several modern instances, within the bounds 
of the county, could be cited. 

In January, 1831, after a sudden thaw of snow, the bog 
between Geevagh and Bloomfield gave way, and a black deluge, 
composed of the contents of several hundred acres of bog, took 
the direction of a small stream, and rolled on with the violence 
of a torrent, sweeping along heath, timber, mud, and stones, 
overwhelming many meadows and much arable land. On 
passing over some boggy land, the flood swept out a wide and 
deep ravine through part of a new line of road which was being 
made by Mr. Martin, chiefly to give employment to the poor. A 
description of the occurrence was thus given in a newspaper of 
the date : 

" An ever-increasing noise, like distant but gradually approaching 
thunder, or the subterranean growling of an earthquake, together with 
a distinct vibration of the ground, 1 attracted attention towards the upper 
portion of the hillside, which the beholders saw actually advancing in 
huge masses of from 20 to 30 feet in height, bearing away everything 
before it in its ruthless course : * Then shrieked the timid and stood 
still the brave/ Helpless women flying in every direction with their 

1 The vibration of the ground in the immediate vicinity of this deluge 
seems to have somewhat resembled that felt on the 28th November, 1880, 
when about 5.15, p. M. a shock of earthquake, accompanied by a distinct 
rumbling noise, lasting several seconds, was distinctly felt and heard at 
Templehouse, Annaghmore, and other places in the district. 


younger children, while those of more advanced age endeavoured to 
assist their fathers, and carrying whatever little property was worth 
the risk to some rising solid ground hefore the destructive and 
desolating flood swept it from their grasp for ever." 

The properties of peat as fuel vary greatly, being influenced 
by the many accidental circumstances which alter or modify its 
nature ; the quality is evidenced by its colour, the best being 
produced from the blackest and densest bogs. Acidity is another 
characteristic noticeable hence the soreness of eyes sometimes 
felt by those unaccustomed to the use of this species of fuel. It 
is made in the following manner : A space having been 
selected and marked out of the required width and length, the 
surface is removed to a sufficient depth. "With a turf-spade a 
small implement of peculiar shape having a wing turned out 
on the left side of the blade, and at right angles thereto, the 
cutter standing on the bank, digs into the peat, fills the spade 
at each cut, and in that manner shapes the sod of turf, which by 
a sudden jerk he slides off the spade towards a person standing 
ready to catch it before it reaches the ground ; by him it is 
placed on a barrow, which, when loaded, another man wheels 
to the " spread-ground," whilst a second barrow is left with the 
catcher to be filled. Having reached the proper place, the bar- 
rower lowers his hands, and pressing one handle firmly down, 
raises the other, and so throws off the load, leaving it in a 
tolerably compact heap. When the shaped turf is sufficiently 
dry to bear rough handling, the heaps are spread evenly over 
the surface of the ground. In a dry season they may be 
soon turned, and then " clamped," but, in a wet season, saving 
them is a very tedious process. They have then to be " footed," 
*. e. put standing on their ends in batches of 8 or 12, and every 
means tried to raise them up to dry, and keep them from ab- 
sorbing moisture from the ground. An expert cutter will form 
30 barrels of turf in a day, and two stout lads can catch and 
wheel them out. A "comfortable farmer" will burn from 
4 to 6 hundred in a year ; the hundred in Sligo generally 
means 120 barrels or 1920 cubic feet ; but a good deal depends 
on the quality of the turf and the manner in which it has been 


gathered into the large ricks which are still to be seen in Sligo 
beside every farmer's house, except in the immediate vicinity 
of the town. 

Insolubility and an antiseptic quality are characteristic 
qualities of boggy matter ; a long list could be enumerated of 
antique articles, which, had they not been thus entombed, must 
long ages ago have turned to dust; but' perhaps the most 
remarkable instances are the discoveries of human remains by 
its means resisting the ravages of time; these singular pre- 
servative qualities extend to everything buried under its sur- 
face; even iron does not disintegrate with as great rapidity 
as if subjected to atmospheric attack. Wood when either 
exposed, or buried in the earth, will disappear in a few years, 
but if enveloped in peat will be preserved ; thus the wooden 
vessels usually single-piece articles like long firkins con- 
taining bog-butter or mineral-tallow, are generally found en- 
tire, whilst the butter itself is also fairly preserved ; many 
instances of such finds could be enumerated. This custom of 
burying, or hiding, butter in bogs is probably of ancient origin, 
but like many old customs it was continued down to a very late 
period. Thomas Dineley, in a diary of his visit to Ireland, 
during the reign of Charles II., states that the Irish used 
" butter layd up in wicker baskitts . . . and buried for some 
time in a bog." Sir William Petty mentions "butter made 
rancid by keeping in bogs," and the custom is thus described in 
The Irish Hudibms : 

" Butter to eat with their hog, 
Was seven years buried in bog." 

As a general rule, no people are longer-lived than those 
dwelling in the midst of vast expanses of bog, whilst on the 
other hand, those inhabiting low, damp, marshy localities, are 
afflicted with fevers and other unpleasant maladies. According 
to the census of 1881, there were then 14 people in the county 
of Sligo aged 100 years and upwards. 

About the year 1806, along the entire coastline, from the 
entrance of Ballysadare Bay almost to Bundoran, the sand 


was in motion. Most probably this was caused by the immense 
impetus given to tillage by the struggle on the continent, 
and the consequent breaking up of the sandy lands along the 
littoral, for potatoes, oats, and other tillage crops. This invasion 
of sand had been long threatening, and any intelligent observer 
might have prognosticated the catastrophe which ensued ; but 
no note of warning was raised, and it was not until 1816 that 
the real inundation commenced in full force. From that date 
up to the year 1835, thousands of fertile acres were overwhelmed; 
no endeavours were successful in checking the progress of this 
devastation the planting of bent as a remedy was then un- 
known and the unfortunate cottiers retreated before the 
deluge, clinging, however, to their wretched hovels as long as 
the roofs were able to sustain the superincumbent mass of sand. 
No one, without studying the map of the county, can form 
any conception of the effects of this devastating inroad. The 
village of Strandhill then situated near the seashore was 
overwhelmed, and the inhabitants removed in a body up the 
slopes of Knocknarea. The same thing occurred near Raughly, 
on the properties of the late Sir Robert Grore-Booth and Mr. 
John Grethin, and the action of the wind year after year turned 
several townlands into a miniature Sahara ; the wretched 
inhabitants one by one abandoned the struggle until only one 
or two houses were left. The first inroad of the torrent of sand 
is thus depicted by an eye-witness : " There are few more 
desolate scenes in our island than that which the once fertile 
plains of Raughly now present. It requires no stretch of the 
imagination to describe what may have been the appearance 
of this place, for the remains of many houses may still be 
traced, and there are at least a hundred yet inhabited huts 
nearly overwhelmed, resembling more the dens of wild animals 
than the habitations of human beings. Fragments of the 
ancient church and some of the rude tombs are still seen, 
peering over the accumulating sand. This wilderness was 
fortunately bounded on two sides by the Atlantic ; on the 
north by an inlet of the sea, and on the east by a small river, 
whose channel being blocked occasioned the formation of a 


large lake, which arrested, in that direction, the further pro- 
gress of the sand." A gentleman thus describes a visit to the 
last house inhabited in this district : " In 1845, being requested 
by a constable to take the depositions of a man (supposed to be 
dying) who had been badly beaten, we almost waded through 
this wilderness, saw no house, and were wondering how much 
farther we had to go, when suddenly the constable stopped 
opposite to what appeared to be a thatched potato-pit, nearly 
covered with sand. ' This is the house/ said he, * the ladder is on 
the other side.' We went round, saw an opening in the thatch, 
and the end of a ladder protruding ; by this means we descended, 
and dimly descried the poor man and his family, by means of the 
light given by the hole in the roof, and by the chimney. His 
recovery was slow, and, when able to be moved, he was at once 
carried off to his neighbours in the adjoining townland, as by 
that time the sand had completely covered the roof of his former 

The sandhills from Streedagh to Mullaghmore were also 
in motion, and the devastation was nearly as great. It was 
here, however, that the drift was at last checked. Lord 
Palmerston introduced the planting of bent, which effectually 
prevented the movement of the sand. He also sowed seeds of the 
Pinus maritima, and now fine plantations are growing on the 
very verge of the ocean. His example was followed by the 
other proprietors, the surface gradually coated over, and is now 
valuable for feeding sheep and young stock, and for the rearing 
of rabbits. Were the sward, however, again broken up, a re- 
currence of the same calamity would inevitably follow. 

One other instance of the efficacy of planting bent may be 
cited. In the neighbourhood of Eaughly (on the south-west 
shore), about a mile of shingle, which formed a barrier against 
the mighty Atlantic waves, was gradually, but irresistibly 
driven back, at the regular rate of a foot each year. One 
very stormy night a breach was effected by the ocean, and the 
tide ran inland amongst the sandhills for a considerable dis- 
tance, scattering the shingle rampart right and left. The 
remedy tried was planting along the beach, bent, which was 


carefully attended to, and renewed when necessary. Thus the 
sandhills were bound together, and increase in solidity year by 
year : they now form an effectual rampart against the breakers. 

It is difficult, without computation from meteorological 
tables to draw any accurate deduction relative to the difference 
between the climate and rainfall of Sligo and of the neighbour- 
ing counties. 

M'Parlan, writing in 1800, stated that the climate of the 
county was very temperate ; as to rain very changeable, so much 
BO that the best barometers prognosticated very uncertainly as to 
the event of wet or dry weather. Wakefield states that " the 
climate is so mild that the arbutus, myrtle, and other shrubs of the 
like kind grow in the grounds here with the utmost luxuriance." 

The rainfall in Sligo certainly appears to be heavy, as will 
be seen by the tables in Appendix K. 

The average yearly depth of rain registered at Markree from 
1833 to 1863 was 37-32 ; from 1885 to 1889, 40-81. At Mount 
Shannon, near Sligo, measured by F. M. Olpherts, for the 
latter period, 39-95, or a difference of 0*86 ; at the same 
place from 1867 to 1869, 42-24. 

Such being the rainfall of Sligo, it is not surprising to find 
exceptionally heavy thunder-showers recorded. One such was 
observed by Mr. Cooper at Markree. After the first flash of 
lightning a strong breeze set in, followed almost immediately 
by an extraordinary downpour of rain, mingled with hail, 
which lasted for fifteen minutes, and during this time there 
fell a depth of rain of one inch and a- half, or at the rate of 
twelve feet in the twenty- four hours ! 

Inhabitants of Sligo imagine that the rainfall in their 
locality is, perhaps, the greatest in the United Kingdom, but 
such is not the case. In the year 1877, at one meteorological 
station in Westmoreland, 151-27 inches of rainfall was measured, 
whilst in 1888, at another station in Cumberland, the depth 
recorded was 175-40 inches. 

In this century the principal storms in Sligo seem to have 
occurred on 3rd March, 1823, when all the vessels anchored in 


the pool were driven ashore; in 1834, 1839, and 19th January, 
1875 ; whilst the storm of 2nd November, 1881, was as violent 
as the memorable hurricane of 1839. On the 26th January, 
1884, a terrific storm burst over Sligo and its neighbourhood, 
joined to which a tidal wave was propelled by a south-westerly 
wind with great force into the bay and harbour. Damage to a 
large amount was effected in the port ; nearly 2000 of public 
money was spent in repairing sea walls, roads, and footpaths, 
which had been swept away in the immediate vicinity of the 
town, where all the low-lying portions were inundated. In 
the country much damage was done, bridges were carried 
away, roads cut, and some of them, through the falling of 
timber, rendered impassable. In places entire woods were 
levelled. In January, 1886, there was another storm, but not 
of such terrific violence. 

In 1802 the principal plantings in the county were at 
Markree, Annaghmore, Hazlewood, and Templehouse ; owners 
of other places had done something in the same line, but on a 
minor scale. Premiums for good plantations were given by 
the Dublin Society. Mr. Wynne obtained a prize for one in 
1787, and Mr. O'Hara for one in 1798, both having succeeded 
well. It will thus be seen that timber was scarce. Mr. Wynne 
then sold "Irish firs" at 50s. the ton (the price in 1886 was 
12s.), and small timber, for common use, from one to two or 
three shillings. Mr. Cooper $old timber at Union Wood at 
the same price, and small timber for hurdles and roofing at 
bulk prices. 

Parts of the country were entirely bare of trees. In the 
year 1815 there were very few to be seen in the parish of 
Kilmactiege, although Mr. Jones, of Banada, was enabled to 
boast of an inheritance which no gentleman within twenty 
miles of him could exhibit, namely, as many grown trees as 
sufficed for a rookery ! 

It was considered that in Ireland trees threw out branches 
when at less height, and were of smaller size, than in England. 
The forking of trees at so early a period was ascribed to the 


thinness of the soil, also to the prevalence of westerly winds, 
and the want of copsing. In 1797, there were in Sligo two 
nurseries for trees, one situated near Oakfield, the other at 
Ballytivnan ; the sale was considerable. 

Evergreens flourished in the county, probably owing to the 
moisture of the climate, and the comparative mildness of the 
winters. Inglis, describing the environs of Sligo, says : 
" Finer evergreens I never saw in the most southern counties ; 
the laurels and bays grown into great trees rivalled, if they did 
not surpass, those of Woodstock or Curraghmore ; and here again 
I found the arbutus 1 . . . giving to the scenery all that advantage 
of colouring which is the boast of KiHarney. The timber too 
... is equal to almost any I have seen ; and I often found 
myself pausing before some magnificent ash, oak, elm, or lime, 
throwing its deep shade across the green amphitheatre which it 
seemed to have made for itself." 

Ordinary garden fruit was grown in Sligo, but ripened 
later than on the eastern coast. The " Crofton apple " or 
" Longford pearmain" was the best keeping, and the most 
popular eating apple in every part of Ireland, the original 
trees having come, it is said, from America. Old leases 
rendered it obligatory on tenants to enclose an orchard, and 
plant a certain number of trees. 

"Wakefield was of opinion that the native Irish stock of 
cattle had all been originally black, for although at the time he 
wrote, there were few of that colour, yet they were neverthe- 
less universally termed " black cattle." Some of these pointed 
out as remains of the ancient breed, were narrow in the loins 

1 On the subject of the arbutus, P. W. Joyce states : " Some think that 
it was brought to Ireland from the Continent by monks, in the early ages 
of Christianity ; but it is more generally believed to be indigenous ; and 
it appears to me a strong argument in favour of this opinion, that we have 
a native term for it. The Irish call it caithne, and in the neighbourhood of 
the Killarney Lakes the word is known, but veiled under a thin disguise ; 
for even the English-speaking people call the berries of the arbutus cam- 
apples, though few or none of them suspect how the name took its rise ; for 
Threlkeld, who wrote his Synopsis Stirpium Jlibermcarum, in 1727, notices 
it, and recognizes it as an anglicised form of caitJme. 1 ' 



and thin in the quarters; they had short legs, large bellies, and 
white faces; their horns, which turned backwards, were re- 
markably wide set, and they had large dewlaps. 

In the year 1770 there were in the county large tracts of 
grass lands, and the system of stocking them varied greatly ; 
the graziers upon good grass bought in cows in the month of May 
at from 3 to 3 10s., and sold out in November at a profit of 
about 30s. ; they would also buy three-year old oxen in October 
at 4 10s., give them coarse hay, and sell them fat, or in 
good order the autumn following, at 7. 

It has been asserted that on some parts of the sea coast the 
cattle were, in times of scarcity, sometimes fed on fish and 
seaweed ; yet strange as the statement seems, there may be 
truth in it, as that kind of food was formerly given to cattle 
on parts of the Norwegian coast, and travellers from the 
east recount the same custom as being prevalent at Malabar. 
The ordinary cattle 1 of the county were nearly the same as 
those of Leitrim small in consequence of the continual expo- 
sure to the open air on the mountains ; some of the gentlemen, 
however, possessed cattle of the long-horned kind for fattening 
purposes. At the close of the last century cattle buyers from 
"Ulster frequented the Sligo markets ; for small mountain cattle 
fattened on the lowlands were in general demand in the northern 

There were no dairies in Sligo in 1770, but in 1800 they 
were fairly numerous. The export of butter from the town was 
considerable. The sudden and vast increase in the quantity and 

YEARS 1848, 1857, 1867, 1877, and 1887. 
























































export of this commodity was chiefly owing to improvement in 
the manner of making it up ; at first it used to be put in crocks, 
but the country people were afterwards compelled to pack it 
in well-coopered casks, a method which improved the quality of 
the butter. 

Some few gentlemen, for farming purposes, worked oxen, a 
pair to each plough, and managed by one man, who by the 
use of long reins connected with bridle-bits in their mouths, 
guided them, and at the same time attended to the management 
of the plough. Oxen had been used for tillage from the year 
1750 in some localities ; but though it was considered that four 
horses would do more work in a day than four oxen, yet the 
latter were the more economical. 

Mules were also much used, they being longer-lived than 
horses, hardier, and more easily fed; but this referred prin- 
cipally to the small Irish mule, not to the larger Spanish breed, 
which required more care ; they were never fed so well as horses, 
yet went through more labour, and were superior to them for 
carrying burdens. Horses were, however, more usually em- 
ployed for tillage in 1778. " Four in a plough abreast," 
writes Arthur Young, " and some harrowing still done by the 
tail, they will plough half an acre a-day. Upon wet lands 
they plough into ridges arched, but never water- furrow." 

The common old Irish plough left half of the vegetable 
surface unturned, and the harrow was bad, the pins being gene- 
rally made of wood ; so late as the commencement of the present 
century, it is stated that in one locality in the county where 
the soil was light, " it was quite common to plough and harrow 
by tying a rope to the horse's tail, dispensing with all other 

The common mode of culture in 1800 was with the Irish 
plough and harrow, whilst the loy, shovel, and spade, were used 
in soil too wet or too rocky for the plough, which, in wet soils 
was worked by three horses, harnessed one before the other, so 
as to avoid spoiling the ridges. Occasionally the man who led 
these horses might be seen standing or walking before them 
he himself moving backwards, and dragging them after him. 


The instrument for digging called a loy was longer and 
narrower than the spade we are now more accustomed to see ; 
it was made of wood, shod with iron, and having only space for 
the right foot to work ; it is still used. Shovels were also made 
of wood, shod with sheet iron ; but in more advanced places 
there were iron shovels. 

The minute division of tillage-land prevents the cultivator 
from keeping horses exclusively destined for draught. His 
horse must carry him to market, draw his small car, and per- 
form every other kind of labour necessary in his agricultural 
pursuits, i. e. must, according to the common phrase,* " be a 
horse of all work." "When their own work is done, small 
farmers who have horses generally plough lands for their 
neighbours, either by the day or at so much per acre. 

In 1776 the flocks of sheep in the county were few in num- 
ber, a revolution in agriculture having taken place ; the baronies 
of Corran and Tireragh, which had been continuous sheep- 
walks a quarter of a century previously, were then yellow with 
fields of waving barley and oats; for tillage had invaded and 
spread over the grass lands. Sheep were, however, kept in 
smaller numbers, and were principally of the native Irish kind, 
except a few flocks which belonged to some of the gentry, who 
had taken great pains to improve the breed. 

Swine were at all times kept, and had increased annually in 
number; in 1777 the farmers commenced the export of salt- 
pork, hams, and bacon. The hogs of Irish breed very tall, 
long, and narrow-loined were kept sometimes to the age of 
two years, being fed and fattened on potatoes. 

Herds of goats were kept in many of the mountainous dis- 
tricts, as also by the cottiers throughout the county : they were 
generally tethered in pairs, in order to prevent them from 
straying into the grounds of their neighbours. 

Every cabin was provided with one dog, some having even 
two or three ; in general they were ill-tempered animals, con- 
stantly running out and barking with fury at passers-by, espe- 
cially those on horseback ; and although there was a law 


imposing a penalty on the owner who did not put a log on his 
canine companion, it was seldom carried into execution. Several 
of these yelping-curs would follow a rider for miles at his horse's 
heels, and many dreadful accidents occurred from their savage 
attacks : so late as June, 1836, the streets of Sligo being infested 
with dogs of a dangerous and ferocious nature, orders were given 
by the Provost that any found at large without being muzzled 
would be shot. 

The "Dogs Eegulation (Ireland) Act " of 1865 (by imposing 
a tax on those animals) has abolished the nuisance, and the 
diminution in number of the canine breed has been very great. 
The surplus fund of this tax is lodged to the credit of the 
County ; and the proportion of surplus moneys arising from the 
sale of licenses is yearly paid over by the treasurer to be applied 
in aid of the borough rates. 


1870, . . 359 
1875, . . 438 
1880, . . 414 

1885, . . 160 

1889, . . 75 

1890, . . 135 

During the continental struggle the lands in Sligo were 
mostly under tillage, the rough pastures supporting cows, horses, 
and sheep. The crops were principally potatoes, oats, and flax ; 
comparatively little wheat or barley being grown, except 
along the sea coast chiefly in Tireragh where the soil being 
lighter, considerable quantities of barley were raised and con- 
sumed in illicit distillation ; in some of the calendars of 
prisoners for trial at the assizes, fully 90 per cent, were com- 
mitted for that offence. 

Good ground set for 40s. to 50s. per acre ; indifferent ground 
at 20s. ; whilst con- acre in good soil brought 8 8s. for a crop of 
potatoes ; from 5 to 6 guineas for oats ; and 4 guineas, the third 
year, for oats or flax. The sods were generally turned up, dried, 
then burnt upon the ridges, and the ashes spread, the land after 
these crops being suffered to lie waste for several years, and coat 
itself with natural grasses ; with the exception of the gentry, few 
laid down their land with grass-seed ; but the backwardness of 



agriculture might be considered chiefly due to the state of com- 
monage in which their lands were held. The great subdivision 
of farms in the county according to the evidence of Colonel 
Irwin before the House of Commons commenced in the year 

In 1800, the whole county might, strictly speaking, be called 
a tillage country, but there were some spots fit for, and appro- 
priated to the fattening of cattle and sheep, still the quantity of 
potatoes, oats, and barley produced, was immense ; wheat, too, 
was grown after the potato crop. The course of crops was : 
1, potatoes ; 2, barley, oats, or wheat ; 3, oats ; 4 and 5, 
oats; then the soil was let out without grass-seed, and being 
thoroughly impoverished, it remained unproductive for years. 
In some parts the soil was too poor for more than three 
crops, but in the richer portion of the county six crops appear 
to have been extracted from the ground without manure. 

In 1778, potatoes were generally the first crop planted in 
newly-drained bog, manured with limestone gravel ; the produce 
was superior in quantity to that on ordinary clay-ground, 
yielding an average of fifty pecks more to the acre. At a later 
period the " drill " method of planting potatoes was stated to 
have been employed by the gentry, whilst the " lazy-bed " 
system was followed by the peasantry. 

In Tireragh great crops of barley were grown during the 
latter part of the eighteenth century, the yield being some- 
times as much as 20 barrels to the acre. Of oats two barrels of 
12 stones were sown, the mean produce being 10 barrels ; of 
wheat 12 stones were sown, the produce being 6 barrels. The 
wire- worm was a great enemy to barley, and in 1812 a traveller 
remarked that comparatively little of that grain was cultivated 
in Counaught " except on the northern coast of Sligo." 

The introduction of the linen manufacture into the county 
stimulated everywhere the rearing of crops of flax. A farming 
cottier, with six or seven acres, would sow six or eight gallons 
the quantity of seed required being at the rate of forty gallons 
per acre the value, sold on the foot, was, in general, 8 ; and 
it was calculated that a gallon of seed produced a stone of 


scutched flax, or forty stones to the acre ; although, as a general 
rule, only sown in small patches, still, in the aggregate, the 
area was extensive, and thus employment was given to a class 
of workers who heckled the flax after it had heen scutched in 
the mill. At the close of the last century at least 3000 acres 
in the county were under flax. In the year 1809 there were 
but 684 acres, whilst the average of the six years, from 1883 to 
1889, was only twenty-four. 

What would he thought in the present day of a field of 
weeds being sold ? yet in 1776 the price per acre was 6 6s., 
the ashes being used in boiling the yarn. 

Manure consisted either of such as the cattle produced, or a 
compost of bog stuff and earth mixed, and left to rot during 
the winter. The manure resulting from burning the ground 
afforded good crops, but the practice impoverished the land by 
wasting the surface, which was the most fertile and productive 
part ; against this a severe penalty had been enacted by the 
Legislature. With bogland, limestone-gravel and marl were 
used as manure; along the shore, seaweed was so employed, 
and this, if laid on the ground early in winter, produced good 
and dry potatoes ; but, if applied just before planting, the 
potatoes were generally wet. The use of lime and shelly sea- 
gravel commenced about the close of the last century ; but long 
prior to that period the innumerable beds of oyster shells which 
lay upon the seashore, principally about Tanrego, were burnt 
into lime, for building and plastering purposes. 

In 1840, a county " Agricultural Society " was started by 
the proprietors of large estates, for the improvement of tillage- 
farming amongst the tenantry. Until a late period many parts 
of the county remained in a backward condition. Inglis, in 
1834, thus describes that portion of the Curlew range which 
lies between Ballinafad and Boyle : " After leaving Lough 
Arrow the road ascended considerably, and passed through a 
wild and very poor country . . . Many of the cabins were not 
to be distinguished from the mud-heaps around ; they were fully 
as black and no bigger, and built of the same material, scarcely 
a patch of cultivation being visible around any of them." On 

u 2 


the other hand, the same traveller remarks that the greater part 
of the road between Ballina and Sligo " is interesting only as 
exhibiting proof of an improving country. . . . Everywhere in 
the neighbourhood proofs are seen of recent triumphs obtained 
over bog and mountain land ; looking on every side, one would 
say this is an improving country." 

M'Parlan, who drew up a slight survey of the county, de- 
scribes the farms as varying in size from three acres to five 
hundred, the poorest classes having very small holdings, some- 
times even less than three acres, and a great number of tenants 
held wide tracts of land in partnership ; in rough mountainous 
districts the land was seldom let by the acre, but by the bulk. 

During the period of the Forty Shilling Freeholders, leases 
for one or more lives were very general. Upon the abolition of 
that franchise, leases were granted for twenty-one or thirty-one 
years; then the custom of giving any lengthened tenure fell into 
disuse, and tenancies from year to year became the almost 
universal rule. 

During the great continental war, the high price of corn, 
and the effect of the free trade in it, produced by the Act of 
1806, gave a stimulus to the extension of tillage, and at this 
time an extraordinary subdivision of farms took place. 

In the commencement of the present century spring and 
harvest were the only periods in which there was brisk employ- 
ment for labour. In the summer season, when the potatoes 
were planted, many of the men went to England or to Leinster, 
in order to procure employment, and the women and children, 
having fastened the door with a piece of twine, took their 
blankets on their backs and turned out to beg until the latter 
end of harvest. The thinning of the population by emigration 
and other causes has almost totally put an end to this state of 
society, and although from remote parts of the county there is 
still a yearly exodus to England for harvest work, it is becoming 
gradually less. A correspondent of The Times, writing in 1884, 
was very favourably struck with the general bearing of the 
Sligo peasantry when compared with those of other western 


The Irish Land Commission was appointed in 1881. Its 
first sitting was held in the autumn of that year, and the first 
cases heard in the county were upon an estate whereon the 
fair rent was fixed at a reduction of about 18 per cent, under 
the old rents, and 6f per cent, under the valuation. In 1884 
the Commissioners fixed the rent of another holding on the same 
estate at about 14 per cent, under the valuation; but on an 
estate within some two miles of the town of Sligo fair rents 
were fixed at 50 per cent, under the valuation. It is not easy 
to reconcile these decisions with any fixed rule. The Com- 
missioners commenced by comparatively small reductions, which 
they gradually increased, and the difference was so marked 
between those given in the first years of the Commission and 
in 1889 that tenants who got rents fixed in the former period 
became dissatisfied. 

In 1888 there were 957 " fair rents " fixed in the county, 
the gross former rent being 12,797 13s. 5d, the judicial rent 
9337 7s. 9d., and by the last annual report of the Com- 
mission the total number of cases in which judicial rents were 
fixed by all the methods provided by the Land Law Acts of 
1881 and 1887 in the county of Sligo up to the 22nd August, 
1889, was 7779, and the percentage in reduction of rents 20'2. 

Some amusing incidents occurred during those times when 
tenants were all asking for and receiving abatements. An 
agent was collecting rents when one man, whose rent was about 
5, put forward demands more exorbitant than any of the 
others. Finally he produced what he said was a one pound 
note all he had wherewith to satisfy his landlord's demands. 
A receipt, together with a considerable amount of change, was 
handed back to Pat. " What is all this for ? " demanded the 
astonished recipient. " My good man/' said the agent, "you 
gave me a 10 note." " The Lord save us," exclaimed Pat ; 
" then Bridget must have given me the wrong note ! " That 
night on his return home there was a family disagreement ; 
Bridget's leg was broken, and the following morning Pat found 
himself under police protection in a way he little expected. 

In the Land Commission Court a too willing ear is given 


to the extravagant claims made by tenants for alleged improve- 
ments, and thus rent is worked down. Also in fixing rent no 
regard is given to the continually recurring fact that tenants 
have often wilfully and repeatedly run out their lands, and 
through disregard of deterioration, rent is again reduced in 
many instances. The tendency of the court is to fix rent on 
the land in its existing state, frequently injured by waste of all 
kinds. In the constitution of the courts the legal element is too 
weak ; the popular element too strong ; and when adjudicating on 
these cases much is always said about agricultural depression and 
the poverty of tenants, &c. &c. That there was rackrenting no 
one disputes; it was not, however, general, nor, as a rule, 
common. But the courts reduced rents indiscriminately on the 
well as on the badly managed estates. 

The farmers have taken advantage of their power of procur- 
ing money at an easy rate of interest from Government, the 
total of loans sanctioned for erecting farm-houses 1 besides 
drainage loans up to the 31st March, 1889, was 32,255. 
Formerly the farmers, when requiring an advance of money, had 
generally dealt with usurers or " gombeen " men, who charged 
an exorbitant rate of interest ; but now they have recourse to 
the banks, which make advances at more moderate rates. 

The " Loan Fund " Board was established, in 1836, to assist 
a different class of people, and to administer advances of small 
sums not exceeding 10, at moderate interest, and repayable by 
instalments. In 1888 there were two societies in active operation 
in the county of Sligo, the working capital 5,083, the actual 
amount in circulation 14,474, in 2856 loans. The gross profit 
was 560 Is. 8Jrf., the expenses of management 266 11s. 4d., the 
interest paid on capital 176 15s., the net profit 108 15s. 4Jrf. 

In the commencement of the seventeenth century the greater 
part of the county presented a wild appearance, but the quantity 
of waste that had been improved up to the close of the latter 

1 The inhabited houses in the County of Sligo were: 27 059 in 1821 
29,583 in 1831 ; 31,443 in 1841 ; 22,142 in 1851 ; 22,394 in 1861 ; 20,979 
in 1871 ; 19,940 in 1881. 


part of the eighteenth century was very considerable. Under 
most of the land that presented the worst appearance there was 
a thin substratum of what is called lack, a tenacious clay, im- 
pervious to water, and varying in thickness from but a few 
inches to a more considerable depth. By trenching the land 
for potatoes, the water was permitted to percolate to the under 
strata, and no drains were necessary, whilst to a great extent 
the bogs were brought under cultivation by spreading on them 
limestone gravel. Two thousand horse-loads, carried on the 
backs of those animals in panniers, was the quantity allowed, 
and the expense of so doing, in 1776, was about 2 2s. per acre. 

The Ox Mountains, on their slopes nearest to the sea, were 
chiefly stocked with sheep, and further in with young cattle. 
Upon a part of this range sheep that fed there were killed by 
" the staggers ;" and horses also were similarly affected. The 
land was dry, and to all appearance good, but the disease was 
then attributed to the lead in which that portion of the mountain 
was supposed to be prolific. When first affected, the animal if 
brought down to a salt marsh, recovered immediately. 

In the last century the fields were in general small, those in 
the occupation of gentlemen being of larger size and fenced 
according to the locality, either with stone walls or ditches ; 
stone walls might be said to predominate, as they served the 
double purpose of clearing the land and of enclosing it Some of 
the old ditches were of gigantic size, having, very generally a 
double, sometimes even a triple, row of whitethorns, with which 
were interspersed plants of ash, alder, oak, and (in Tireragh) 

In the commencement of the present century, M'Parlan 
states that it was in the mountains and bogs the greatest part 
of any draining effected could be seen. He describes the 
county as containing every possible variety of pasture, sour, 
sweet, light, heavy ; some fit only for rabbits and kids, some for 
the heaviest cows and oxen. Coolavin, where there was, and 
still is, a vast deal of sour mountain pasture, contained also 
some of the richest feeding ground in Ireland ; but the main 
portion of this area consisting of the baronies of Leyny, 


Corran, and Tirerrill was mostly either a fattening or feeding 
country of good quality ; the baronies of Tireragh and Carbury 
being fit for, and occupied in, tillage. 

A great part of the demesne of Hazlewood had been very 
wet, but Mr. Wynne effectually drained it, not only by break- 
ing and uniting with the rest of the soil the substratum termed 
lack, but also by cutting off springs at the side of hills, &c, 

An " Irish Waste and Land Improvement Society " was 
formed in 1836, under the presidency of the Earl of Devon, 
and a traveller, in 1844, describes their estate in Sligo being 
one of four which they possessed as situated at Grleneask, on 
the south-east slope of the Slieve Gamph Mountains. It consisted 
principally of a wide glen or valley, extending from Lough 
Talt on the west to Lough Eask on the east, a stretch of about 
seven English miles, with a breadth varying from four miles 
at the south-west end, to a narrow point, where the mountain 
terminates on the eastern extremity of Lough Eask. The 
whole valley, as well as the lower slopes of the mountain 
available for tillage, are almost without exception pure peat 
bog. This includes about 3500 acres, and the remaining 
2269 acres are mountain pasture, admirably adapted to the 
rearing and feeding of " mountainy " cattle. The model farm 
consisted of sixteen statute acres, where upon a piece of pure 
bog, only two years reclaimed, turnips, mangolds, rape, vetches, 
and potatoes flourished. The allotments were marked out by 
main drains and neat green sod-banks, surmounted by trimmed 
furze-hedges. The small white tenements faced the road ; the 
houses were good, each having two rooms. They were built of 
stone, thatched and glazed, and cost the society about 20 each. 
Prizes of 2 were given annually for every acre of reclaimed 
land, as well as annual prizes for drainage, for the best green 
crops and cattle, for cleanliness, &c. Unfortunately the 
depression of 1846-50 appears to have compelled the society to 
sell this property. 

A large extent of reclamation was made near Tanrego. In 
1851, William Petrie was granted by the landlord a lease for 
ever, at a nominal rent, of about 120 acres of " slob-land " on 


the sea-shore, near the eighth milestone on the Ballina road. 
He set about the reclamation in an energetic manner ; made a 
large embankment, with discharging sluices to keep out the 
spring tides ; drained and subsoiled the entire area, and sold it 
at a considerable profit to Captain Olpherts, who was then 
engaged in enclosing about 350 acres of the adjoining strand. 
All this reclaimed land, the demesne of Tanrego inclusive, was 
afterwards purchased by Mr. E. Verschoyle. 1 

Lord Palmerston, who died in 1865, owned large estates in 
the county, one a wild, bleak district near Cliffoney, tenanted 
by a number of small cottiers, constituting a numerous popula- 
tion, and holding under four or five " middlemen " on lease 
for lives, which terminated at the death of William IV. Lord 
Palmerston reduced the rents of the under-tenants by about 
one-third ; abolished the " rundale " or partnership system of 
farming ; sent numbers off to America, paying their passage, 
forgiving the rent, and allowing them to sell their stock, &c. 

He spent a large portion of the Ciiifoney rental in building 
the harbour of Mullaghmore, improving the estate by drainage, 
roads, planting, &c. 

Wakefield remarks that " the estate of Mr. O'Hara, member 
for the county, was held by original title to the soil," in contra- 
distinction to the other proprietors, who derived theirs by grants 
from the Crown ; but although Mr. O'Hara, in one respect, held 
his property " by original title to the soil," yet his ancestor, in 
Elizabeth's time, had prudently taken a grant of it from the 
Crown on English tenure. 

In 1832, the manor of Ballymote was sold by the then Lord 
Kirkwall to Sir R. Gore-Booth. They were both staying in 
the house of Annaghmore with Major O'Hara, while negotia- 
tions for the sale of the property were going on. Many 
fluctuations with regard to terms occurred between them; at 

1 The tourist Beranger, who spent some days with Colonel Irwin, at 
Tanrego, was there shown two islands, on which cattle were grazing ; when 
the tide was in they were accessible only by a boat. The foundations of 
these islands were oyster-shells, with about six inches of earth over them. 
Beranger walked round them, and was amazed at the sight. 


last both the parties one day at the dinner-table seemed to 
arrive at such a clear understanding on the subject that Major 
O'Hara suggested a memorandum of the agreement should be 
signed by the contracting parties, It was said that, bad he not 
been bound by this agreement, Lord Kirkwall next morning 
would have drawn back, and made some change in regard to 

In 1881 the number of owners of land in the County Sligo 
was 856, the total area held by them being 448,396 A., 3 K. 22 p. 
of an annual valuation of 210,382. The average annual value 
per statute acre in 1873 being 9s. 4d. per acre. 

There were 17,994 holdings in the County Sligo in 1881, 
divided into the following classes : 6647 of under 4 valua- 
tion ; 6868 over 4, and at or under 10 ; 1942 over 10, and 
at or under 15 ; 881 over 15, and at or under 20 ; 713 
over 20, and at or under 30 ; 326 over 30, and at or under 
40 ; 185 over 40, and at or under 50 ; 293 over 50, and 
at or under 100 ; 139 over 100. 

The Benbulben range of mountains in Sligo and Leitrim 
had been examined with care by many Irish botanists, and is 
celebrated for affording several of our rarest alpine plants. 
Messrs. Barrington and Vowell, in their Eeport, read before 
the Eoyal Irish Academy in April, 1885, 1 give full credit to 
their predecessors, and especially to Mr. Corry and his friend 
Mr. Dickson who were drowned in Lough Grill (9th August, 
1883) whilst specially engaged in critically determining the 
vegetation of that district. The best known mountain, Ben- 
bulben, is upwards of 1700 feet high, and to it many plants 
are attributed which grow on other portions of the range. 

Messrs. Barrington and Vowell tell us that 

" Most of the interesting species grow at a distance not exceeding 
seven miles from the south of Donegal Bay. The sea approaches 
within three miles of the cliffs at one spot; therefore, maritime 

1 See " Report on the Flora of Benbulhen and the adjoining mountain 
range in Sligo and Leitrim," by Richard M. Barrington, M.A., LL.B., F.L.S., 
and R. P. Vowel! (read before the Royal Irish Academy, April 27, 1885), and 
published in their Proceedings, 


varieties, not usually observable on mountains, might be looked for. 

None, however, are noticed on the range The mountains do 

not descend gradually into the valleys, but are surrounded by cliffs 
varying in height from 30 to 500 feet. These cliffs extend all round 
the range to the west of Glenade, and it is only in one or two places 
that the mountains' slope is free from this limestone barrier. There 
are similar cliffs on the mountains south of Kinlough, but all the rare 
species can be gathered on the range lying to the west of the Glenade 
Valley, though they are not all confined to it. The mean height of the 
edge of the cliffs may be taken at 1600 feet; they are composed of 
loose limestone readily detached, and, as this affords a poor security, 
either for the hand or foot, they are dangerous to climb. The cliffs 
are everywhere separated from the fields and valleys below by a steep 
slope of talus or debris extending downwards at an angle varying from 
40 to 50 degrees. This slope is frequently 800 feet in vertical height 
(sometimes more) ; and the cliff can only be examined in many places 
by walking along a narrow track made by the sheep where the talus 
meets the face of the precipice. Nowhere in Ireland is there such an 
extent of similar cliffs. The top of the talus varies from 900 to 1200 
feet above the sea level." 

This Paper affords full particulars of all the plants found 
by the writers themselves or noted by Mr. Corry ; it must be 
referred to for details. 

The following is a complete list of the alpine plants which 
occur on the Benbulben range of mountains. Three of these, 
viz., Arenaria ciliata, Saxifraga nivalis, And. Spilobium akinifolium 
are not found anywhere else in Ireland : 

Thalictrum alpinum. Oxyria reniformis. 

Arabis petraBa. Polygonuni viviparum. 

Draba incana. Salix herbacea. 

Silene acaulis. Juniperus nana. 

Arenaria ciliata. Carex rigida. 

Dryas octopetala. Sesleria caerulea. 

Epilobium alsinifolium. Poa alpina. 

Sedum rhodiola. Polystichum lonchitis. 

Saxifraga aizoides. Asplenium viride. 

Saxifraga nivalis. Lycopodium alpinum 

Saxifraga oppositifolia. Selaginella selaginoides. 
Hieracium anglicum. 

Besides these, Arctostaphylos uva-ursiand. Vaccinium vitis-idcea 
were noted by Mr. Wynne as found in Sligo. Galium boreale, 


also, and Ixoetes lacustris occur within the district. Thus the 
entire numher of our mountain species amounts to twenty- 
seven, and this is more than are known in any other district 
in Ireland. 

" The most interesting plant discovered by Messrs. Barrington 
and Vowell was Epilobium alstnifolium, an alpine species, not pre- 
viously found in Ireland." Neither Alchemilla alpina, nor Ly co- 
podium alpinum, reported as having been found by Mr. J. Wynne, 
were observed. Saxifraga nimlis, which grows nowhere else in 
Ireland, is confined to one spot, and is now reduced to about 
thirty plants. Saxifraga oppositifolia is not rare. Poa alpina is 
a grass found in Ireland only on Benbulben, and on Brandon 
Mountain in Kerry. Thalictrum alpinum is confined to one very 
limited area, and difficult to reach. Adiantum capillus-veneris is 
reduced to a few plants in Glencar; and though Aspidium 
lonchitis is still plentiful, the fern dealers are destroying it 
(this fern has grown freely in a fernery at Eathcarrick on the 
slope of Knocknarea, where it was planted several years since). 
"Arabis petrcea is confined to a quarter of a mile of cliff in 

Messrs. Barrington and Yowell's Paper is illustrated by an 
excellent map of the district, coloured and drawn on a scale of 
half an inch to the mile. As it affords reliable information with 
accurate references to localities it should be referred to by all who 
desire to study the Botany of Sligo. With it must be consulted a 
Paper prepared by A. Gr. More, F.L.S., M.R.I.A., " On the Heights 
attained by Plants on Benbulben," read before the Eoyal 
Irish Academy, December 10, 1883, which was drawn up from 
the incomplete notes and measurements left by Mr. Corry and 
his friend Mr. Dickson, whose death on Lough Gill has been 
mentioned. They explored Benbulben, Ben Weesken, and 
Knocknarea ; also Grlencar and a mountain opposite Knockna- 
rea, determining the elevation at which each species of plant 
was found. 

The Authors of Cybek Hibernica, the late Dr. David 
Moore, and A. GK More, F.L.S., refer to a list of Sligo plants 
supplied by the late Eight Hon. John Wynne, and also to a 


Paper published by him on " The Effects of a Severe Frost 
near Sligo" (see Proc. Dubl. Nat. Hist. Soc., vol. i., 1860). 
Mr. Wynne deserves to be remembered as the discoverer of 
Arabis petrcea and Saxifraga nivalis ; also of Polypodium dryop- 
teris in Leitrim, and Adiantum capillus-veneris in Sligo. 

The Botanical District No. 9, of Professor C. C. Babington, 
for Ireland, embraces East Mayo, Sligo, and Leitrim, remark- 
able for their range of mountains, varying from 1700 to upwards 
of 2000 feet above sea level. Thus, Benbulben reaches the 
height of 1728 feet, and Truskmore 2113 feet ; their distinguish- 
ing character is the abrupt faces of rock towards the Atlantic, 
and the widespread plateaus on their summits reaching land- 

The border line dividing East from West Mayo is placed 
along Lough Mask and the course of the Biver Ayle, thence 
passing through Castlebar and descending through Lough 
Cullin and the Eiver Moy to the sea at Ballina. 

The ferns of this district include examples of almost every 
species found in Ireland. Amongst the notable exceptions 
are Cryptogamma crispa (The Parsley Fern), and Lastrcea thelyp- 
teris (Marsh Fern). 

Asplenium lanceolatum (Hudson's Spleenwort) of course is 
absent, its only Irish locality being Cork. 

Trichomanes radicans (Bristle Fern), another essentially 
southern fern, is not found in Sligo. 

Polypodium phegopteris (The Beech Fern) is recorded as being 
found by the late Mr. J. Wynne on Glenade Mountain, Leitrim, 
and is noted as very rare there. It has not been obtained in 

Polypodium dryopteris (Oak Fern) ; similarly described as a 
Leitrim fern by Mr. Wynne. It is found also near Lough 

Polystichum lonchitis (The Holly Fern), found on exposed 
edges of cliffs on Benbulben and other high mountains, where 
it is now almost exterminated. It grows freely, as already stated, 
in a fernery at Rathcarrick on the side of Knocknarea, where it 
propagates amongst other ferns. 


Asplenium mride (Green-stalked Spleenwort). This high* 
land fern is recorded on Benbulben at a height of 1100 feet 
(chiefly in the form incisum of Moore, and on Kesh Corran, 
where it was found though scarce by Mr. F. J. Foot. 

Adiantum capillm-veneris (Maiden-hair Fern), recorded by 
Mr. Wynne as being found at Glencar on limestone rocks 300 
feet above sea level, and also within four miles of Sligo, must 
be considered exceptionally rare. 

Asplenium ruta-mttraria, Ceterach officinarum, and Cystopieris 
fragilis are abundant in the limestone districts of Sligo, whilst 
Osmunda regalis (The Eoyal Fern) carefully avoids limestone 
as a habitat. 

Hymenophyllum tunbridgense and Hymenophyllum Wilsoni, 
found in deep shady localities, mossy trunks of tree, &c., though 
not common plants, are found in Sligo mountainous districts. 

In the last published part of the " Proceedings of the Eoyal 
Irish Academy" (3rd series, vol. i., pt. iv.), there is an exhaus- 
tive Eeport on the Mountain Flora of Ireland, by Eichard 
Chichester Hart, B.A., F.L.S., the result of seven or eight years 
botanizing in the Irish mountains. This describes all our known 
species with their distribution in a most comprehensive manner, 
and must be referred to by all who desire to study the Irish 

Birds. The birds of Sligo show that it is the borderland of 
two great divisions into which Ireland may be separated by the 
ornithologist : its eastern and southern portions being the home 
of inland species, such as the Chiffchaff, Bullfinch, Nightjar, 
the Woodcock (as a breeding species), and the Great Crested 
Grebe, which breeds on Sligo waters as well as on lakes from 
Monaghan to Lough Derg ; while several species of Warblers of 
rare occurrence in Ireland are believed by Colonel ffolliott to 
breed occasionally at Hollybrook. The mountains and coasts 
yield an avifauna characteristic of the North and West of Ireland, 
and we find that in the west of the county the above species 
become scarce, or absent as we approach that wild western region 
characterized by the absence of so many land-birds. The estuary 
of the Moy and Killala Bay yield an exceptional number both 


of species and individuals of sea-birds and Waders which take 
refuge there on their southern journey from northern regions. 
Among the immense flocks of such species as the Bar-tailed 
Godwit, many remain so late as to assume the red breeding- 
plumage, while a few individuals seem to linger on there througli 
the summer. Oceanic and Arctic birds, like the Fulmar, are 
occasionally driven ashore. 

Sligo, once the home of the Golden Eagle, is still the breed- 
ing resort of the Peregrine and Chough; while the Dunlin, 
Common Gull, and Shoveller breed on its lakes and moors, and 
the Curlew and Eedshank are common residents. 

Another feature of interest about the ornithology of Sligo 
is, that it is crossed by a migration-route, which species like the 
Whimbrel and the Skuas take, passing north or south by way of 
the line of the Shannon and the Sligo lakes, to avoid the long 
and stormy detour round the coasts of Connaught. 

There is no special description published of the birds of 
Sligo ; but the Zoologist for 1877 contains a detailed description 
of the birds of the Moy estuary and the surrounding district, by 
Mr. Robert Warren, whose prolonged and careful observations 
have thrown a light on the ornithology of that district hardly 
equalled in any other part of Ireland. Sir E. Payne Gallwey's 
work, The Fowler in Ireland, also contains interesting infor- 
mation. The above, taken in conjunction with the "List of Irish 
Birds," showing the species contained in the Science and Art 
Museum, Dublin, by Alex. G. More, F.L.S., &c., late Curator, 
will enable an estimate to be made of the rarer species of birds 
that have been noticed in the County Sligo. 

The usual text books on Native Birds can be referred to for 
lists of the ordinary inhabitants of the County. Thompson's 
Natural History of Ireland may be stated to be the standard at 
present ; but A. G. More, E. M. Barrington, E. Warren, and 
E. J. Ussher have now in course of preparation a work on Irish 
Birds which will bring the subject down to date. 

Eagle (Aquilla chrt/8CBtu8).Sir Ealph Payne Gallwey, Bart., 
in his Fowler in Ireland, considers the Sea Eagle to be as com- 
mon in Ireland as the Golden Eagle, but Mr. Eichard G. Symes, 


of the Geological Survey of Ireland, states : " The birds I saw 
in Mayo and Sligo were chiefly Golden Eagles." Colonel Cooper 
of Markree Castle, writing in October, 1881, says, "I am afraid 
the Golden Eagle is becoming scarce. A pair used to breed every 
year about Skreen, but about Benbulben and the Glencar range 
is their favourite resort." 

Peregrine Falcon (Fako peregrinus). This bird is not rare. 
Its breeding-places are principally on the sea-cliffs. Mr. Warren 
of Ballina says he has often seen them prey upon Curlews. He 
once witnessed an interesting flight by a Falcon after a Green 
Plover. It resulted in the latter becoming so utterly exhausted 
that it pitched into the water and swam about endeavouring to 
escape ; but the Falcon was not to be thus cheated of her prey, 
for she gradually lowered her flight, and, poising herself with 
fluttering wings, extended her feet and daintily picked the un- 
fortunate Plover off the water without wetting a talon. 

A translation is given of an extract taken from a curious 
zoological and topographical poem, now in the Library E.I.A. 
Eugene O'Curry believed the original to be as old as the 
ninth century. The plot of the poem is as follows: Finn 
Mac Cool was made prisoner by Cormac Mac Art, monarch of 
Ireland, who only consented to release him on his procuring 
within twelve months a pair male and female of every wild 
bird and animal in the kingdom. It is remarkable, as observed 
by Wilde, that the localities specified as the haunts of the birds 
and animals are just such as naturalists would now select as a 
likely habitat for the specimen sought. Herons are still to be 
seen on " hilly Corran," and wild Pigeons still flit around the 
cliffs of Kesh. 

" Two Herons from the hilly Corran. 

* * * * 

Two Pigeons out of Ceis Corran. 

* * * * 

Two Bruacharans from Sliabh-da-en." 

There are Heronries at Annaghmore, Templehouse, Tanrego, 
Hazlewood, Cleveragh, Portland, and Hollybrook. 


11 The lonely boom of the Bittern is heard more seldom year 
after year, as the marshes are becoming drained and reclaimed ; 
but," remarks P. W. Joyce, "we have names that point out the 
former haunts of the bird, and some of them indicate the wild, 
moory character of the places when the names were imposed. 
Bunndn is the Irish name of the bird ; it is seen in ... Cur- 
raghbonann, near Tobercurry, in Sligo, where the old people 
have still some memory of hearing the Bittern booming from 
the Cur rack, or marsh." 

Sligo and Mayo are noted counties for Woodcock. "In 
the season," writes Wakefield, in 1812, " these birds visit Ire- 
land in immense flights ; while in the country I do not think 
that, during several months in the year, I ever dined with- 
out some of them being at table." "Mr. Warren tells me," 
says Sir E. Payne Grallwey, " that in frost and snow the birds 
desert the inland coverts for the coast, and that when the tide 
is out they feed among the rocks on seaweed of the shore; that 
in the severe weather of 1878-79 and 1880-81 numbers were 
killed by country boys stalking them from behind rocks and 
boulders and knocking them down with sticks as they rose." In 
the County Sligo, as stated by Sir E. Gore-Booth : " Some years 
since a hundred and fifty couple were killed in three days by a 
party to eight guns close round the house at Lissadell. During 
the last few days of January and beginning of February, 1867, 
three hundred and thirty-eight couple were killed in six days 
at the same place by a party averaging seven guns. The best 
bag in 1880-81 was thirty-three couple to four guns." 

Snipe according to a reply sent to Sir E. Payne Grallwey 
by Mr. Edward (return, of Earlsfield were so numerous in 
1877-78 that he shot during the season 959 birds; of these 
there were never more Jack-snipe than four or five in a day, 
and many days, none at all. There was great injury to Snipe 
in Ireland " by the severe winter of the Crimean War, when 
the snow lay a foot deep over Ireland for eight months ; when 
the thaw came, the skeletons of innumerable birds were to be 
seen scattered over the country." The hard winters of 1878-79, 


and the more severe one of 1880-81, still further lessened the 
numbers of this bird in Ireland. 

The Jack-snipe (Gallinago gallimila) has become rare in the 
AVest of Ireland since those severe frosts. Colonel Peyton says 
"that previous to 1860 they were at least twenty per cent, 
more numerous than at present." It is still a regular winter 
visitor, but much scarcer than the common Snipe, and is not 
found to breed here, as the common Snipe does to some extent. 
From the list of Irish Birds in the Dublin Museum Collection 
may be mentioned the Pied Flycatcher (Muscicapa atricapilla), 
which was shot at Moyview, Co. Sligo, in April, 1875, and 
presented to the Museum by R. Warren, Esq. This was the 
first example obtained in Ireland of a very rare visitor, since 
which time several have been taken at lighthouses in the months 
of September and October. 

The Red-breasted Merganser (Mergus serrator), which is 
more or less found on the Irish coasts, lives exclusively upon 
fish ; and Colonel Cooper considered it was quite as destructive 
on the Sligo estuaries to young salmon as are cormorants. Some 
breed in crevices in the rocks and shore and on rushy islands 
every year. Though a handsome bird, its food renders its 
flesh rank and worthless. 

The Brent Goose (Anser bernicola), the smallest of its tribe, 
is common in Sligo Bay and Drumcliff Bay. The Barnacle 
Goose (Anser lettcopsis) is limited to certain localities, as it feeds 
on the short wet herbage which abounds in tidal marshes and 
sandflats. It is often confounded with the Brent Goose, whose 
food is sea- grass or Zostera marina, which explains its being 
restricted to special localities also. The Barnacle Goose, accord- 
ing to Sir R. Payne Gallwey, is " not uncommon about Carney 
Strand and Streedagh Strand, some ten miles from Sligo, also 
near Oyster Island and Strandhill in that district." 

Swans are occasionally seen. Three Hoopers were shot by 
Sir H. Gore-Booth at Lissadell, in December, 1875. Even 
during the last century, flights of wild Swans were not uncom- 
mon on the sequestered lakes and rivers. The ancient Irish 


imagined that there was something peculiarly mystic about 
these birds, and one of the most beautiful of the Early 
Eomances is that of " The Fate of the Children of Lir," who 
were metamorphosed into Swans. 

Mr. Warren describes the occurrence of three examples 
of the Black Tern (Hydrochelidon nigra), of which he shot two 
near the mouth of the Moy on the Sligo side of the river, in 
October, 1859. It is a rare autumnal visitor to Ireland. 

The Eskimo Curlew (Numenius borealis), a native of America, 
has once occurred. It was purchased at a poulterer's shop in 
Dublin, and said to have been shot at Sligo, October, 1870 (see 
"Zoologist " for 1870) . It was presented to the Dublin Museum 
by Sir Yictor Brooke. 

The Great Gray Shrike (Lanius excubitor), a rare and un- 
certain winter visitor, is recorded in the lists of Irish Migrants, 
as found in Sligo in 1831 or 1832. There are two specimens 
in the Dublin Museum from Co. Down and Co. Louth. 

The Great Spotted Woodpecker (Dendrocopus major) is said 
by Professor Kinahan to have been obtained in Sligo in 1835 
and 1850. It appears more common on the East coast. 

Several old pre-historic forts in the county are styled in 
Irish" The Fort of the Kaven." 

The Magpie, now common all over Ireland, was introduced 
here from England previous to 1700. Derrick, who in 1581, 
wrote the Image of Ireland, says : 

" No Pies to plucke the thatch from house 

Are breed on Irish grounde : 
But worse than Pies the same to burne 
A thousand maie be founde." 

Moryson, writing in 1617, states that the " Chattering Pye " 
was not to be found in Ireland, whilst Smith, in 1774, in his 
History of Cork, states that" the Magpie or Piante was not 
known in Ireland seventy years ago, but they are now very 

The Missel Thrush (Turdus viscivorus) is believed to have 
settled in Ireland since 1800. The Starling (Sturnus milgaris) 



has of late years multiplied considerably in numbers in certain 

The Kingfisher is supposed to be secluded in its habits, and 
to haunt rapid rocky trout streams. But a few years ago one 
of these birds made the river of Sligo between the two weirs 
for gome time its home, where its low arrow-like flight from 
place to place was remarked by anglers. 

For a list of the birds met with in the County Sligo see 

Mammalia. The Badger has for many years been decreasing 
in numbers. Its nocturnal habits and the retired places where 
it makes its abode may account for the rarity of its being observed, 
but such local names as Carricknabrock and Pollnabrock are to be 
found in the county, thus testifying to the old haunts of this 
animal; whilst in the Parish of Ahamlish there are the town- 
lands of Ballynabrock, Clontyprochlis ; in Skreen that of 
Brockage ; and in Killery that of Brickeen all derived from 
the habitat of these creatures. 

The Otter is still abundant in suitable localities, and though 
persecuted, is far from being exterminated. When in fine 
condition its skin is valued, and a good specimen of this animal 
will measure, from top of nose to tail, 2 feet 6 inches, and weigh 
25 Ibs. 

The true Weasel is unknown in Ireland. The Stoat (Mus- 
tek erminea), which is twice the size of the Weasel and distin- 
guished by the black tuft at the end of its tail, is common here. 
This animal, in England and Scotland, turns almost white in 
winter, but perfectly white specimens have never been observed 
in Ireland. The Marten (Maries sylvatica) is found in tolerable 
abundance in suitable localities. The Squirrel, which has of late 
years spread extensively from the east of Ireland through the 
midland counties, does not yet seem to have taken up its abode 
in Sligo. An interesting Paper, by Mr. R. M. Barrington, on 
the introduction of this animal to Ireland, illustrated by a map 
giving its distribution to the year 1880, is published in the 
" Proceedings of the Royal Dublin Society." 


The common Seal (Phoca vitulina) and the large Gray Seal 
(Phoca gryphus) are found along the sea-coast. The largest 
Gray Seal shot on the coast near Enniscrone many years ago 
weighed 5 cwt., was 6 feet round the body, and nearly 8 feet in 

Amphibia. The Frog, stated in " Rutty's Natural History 
of Dublin " to have been introduced at the end of the seven- 
teenth century by Dr. Guithers, a Fellow of Trinity College, is 
now as abundant in Sligo as elsewhere. 

The Smooth Newt (Molge vulgaris) is common in ponds and 
ditches. The superstition as to this little creature causing 
gastric affections by being swallowed accidentally in drinking 
water, is widespread throughout Ireland, and has afforded the 
fairy doctor a lucrative field for operation ; the action of some 
emetic substance, and a skilful addition of a living newt by the 
doctor, being accepted as evidence of undoubted cure. 

Reptilia. Logger-headed Turtle (Thalassochelys carretta). 
Dr. Scharff, of the Natural History Museum, Dublin, states 
that the collection has a young specimen of this animal about 
one foot long. It was obtained at Mullaghmore, and presented 
by Dr. J. W. Tate, in April, 1890. It has only once before 
been observed on the Irish Coast, and that was in the South of 
Ireland ; it has sometimes been found in the open Atlantic, but 
is more common in the Mediterranean. 

Fish. The ordinary fish of the Sligo district still require to 
be properly catalogued and described. Dr. Scharff mentions 
that one of the largest pikes in the Museum (Lucius esox) was 
obtained from Lough Arrow, and presented by T. Eothwell, 
Esq. The only specimens recorded in the Collections procured 
by Dr. C. Ball when trawling on the Sligo coast are the Bullhead 
(Coitus bubalis) and the Weaver (Trachium viper a}. There is also 
an example of the Lumpsucker from Sligo Bay (Cyclopterus 

The Basking Shark (Selache maxima), which reaches to up- 
wards of 30 feet in length, is not uncommon along the Western 


coast, and also the Sunfish (Orgathoriscm). Of these there are 
two species, 0. oblongus and 0. mola ; the former is much the 

The fishing grounds of the West of Ireland are now being 
thoroughly investigated by Eev. W. S. Green, under the direc- 
tion of the Eoyal Dublin Society and the Government. One 
report has just appeared, full of valuable information, in the 
" Eeport of the Council of the Eoyal Dublin Society for 1890," 
which can be referred to. 



; N 1587 the first assizes (according to English law) 
was held in Sligo, presided over by Thomas Dillon, 
Chief Justice, and Grarrett Comberford, Attorney- 
, General of Conn aught. There was a great muster 
of the native Irish to view the novel sight, for, prior 
to this, generally punishment for a crime took the form 
of private and bloody vengeance by the relations or tribe 
of the sufferer on the person of the offender, or, to employ legal 
phraseology, "the law of tort, had a much more extended appli- 
cation than at present." There were frequent interruptions to 
the holding of the assizes during the Elizabethan and Civil 
wars, when the ordinary law was in abeyance ; but from the 
year 1693 the judges went circuit with extreme regularity, the 
circuits appointed being published in The Dublin Gazette. The 
sheriff and sub-sheriff met the judges at the borders of the county, 
provided with suitable carriages, drawn usually by four horses, and 
accompanied also by a posse of mounted men and halbert men. 1 
The office of sheriff in those days entailed great expanse and 
much responsibility ; the latter, to a great extent, was guarded 
against by the appointment of a sub -sheriff, and there were 
always men anxious to obtain the post and willing to undertake 
its responsibilities ; the high sheriff required, however, a certifi- 
cate regarding the antecedents of the applicant and the sufti* 
ciency and solvency of the security which he tendered. 

An amusing escape from arrest for debt is recorded as having 
occurred at Lent assizes, 1818. A gentleman, a well known spend- 
thrift, being called to the book to be sworn on the grand jury, 

1 In 1808 the high sheriff was fined 20, and the sub-sheriff 10, 
not attending the Judges at the bounds of the county." 



and having answered his name, a writ of ca. sa. was thereupon 
delivered to the sheriff against him, at the suit of John Mack, 
for the sum of 266. Upon application to the court, on affi- 
davit of the defendant and of the sheriff, the said defendant 
was ordered hy the court to he discharged from the custody of 
the said sheriff, his office as juror 1 exempting him from arrest. 

In 1787 an Act was passed " for the better execution of the 
laws and the preservation of the peace," which empowered the 
Lord Lieutenant to appoint a Chief Constable to each Barony 
of a County, whilst the Grand Jury had authority to appoint 
six to the same district. These were styled " baronial con- 
stables/' familiarly termed " old Barays; v they wore no uniform, 
were under no supervision, subject to no discipline or control 
whatever, and followed their usual occupations combined with 
their duties as constables. 

It was only in the early part of this century that Petty 
Sessions were regularly established ; Colonel Irwin stated that at 
the one over which he presided near Tanrego held once a fort- 
night he had full occupation " from eleven in the morning 
until five or six in the evening." They were very generally 
established throughout the county, and there was no barony 
without at least one. 

Before the institution of Petty Sessions, 2 cases used to be 

1 The following are the names of the Jurors who found the King's title 
to the lands of the County of Sligo, under the terror inspired by Strafford. 
The list is extracted from the Patent Rolls, Record Office, Dublin : 

Roger Jones, of Sligo, Knt. ; William Crofton, of Templehouse, Esq. ; 
Thomas Crofton, of Longford, Esq. ; Pierce M'Dermott, of Ballymullany, 
Ksq. ; John Ridge, of Ballysummaghan, Esq. ; Andrew Crean, of Annagh, 
Esq.; Charles O'Dowd, of Cottlestown, Esq.; Teige O'Higgins, of Coulere- 
rogh, Esq,; Edward Ormsby, of Clonegad, Esq.; William Dodwell, of 
Runnelageta, Esq. ; BryanM<Donnoge, of Coolaney, Gent.; Kean O'Harah, 
of Coolaney, Gent. ; John M'Donnogh, of Ballindoon, Gent. ; Henry Mac 
Donnogh, of Cloonegaseall, Gent. ; George Dodwell, of Rosscribe, Gent. ; 
Keadage O'Bennegean, of Cloonelor, Gent. ; Gerrott Baxter, of Learras, 
Gent. ; William Parke, of Downally, Gent. 

2 There are seventeen Petty Sessions Districts in the county, i. e. Ballina 
(part of) ; Ballinafad : Ballyfarnon (part of) : Ballymote ; Bo'yle (part of), 
Collooney, Coolaney, Dromore West, and Easky ; Grange, Iniscrone, Mul- 
laghroe, Uiverstown, Skreen, Sligo and Sligo Borough, Sooey, and Tobercurry. 


heard and decided in a room in the house of a magistrate, whose 
conduct was not open to public criticism, and it was only on 
sufferance that the public were admitted. 

The Courts of Chairmen of Counties in Ireland were origi- 
nally founded in the year 1796 by an Act of the Irish Parlia- 
ment (36 Geo. III., c. 25). 

Faction fighting was formerly the bane of the country. "When 
a man of the peasant class sustained an injury, or conceived 
himself affronted, he called to his aid, not only his immediate 
relations and friends, but also his neighbours, sometimes even 
the inhabitants of a barony. Whole districts thus became inter- 
ested in individual disputes ; the combatants marshalled them- 
selves under leaders ; shillelaghs were their weapons, and when 
" a general engagement " took place, many were wounded on 
both sides, bruised limbs and broken heads being the usual 
consequences of such encounters, and on some occasions even 
loss of life. Faction fights were not confined to ordinary 
mortals; the peasantry recount how on certain nights in the 
year, lights were to be seen in the raths or old forts scattered 
throughout the country, and noises could be heard, as if contend- 
ing parties were engaged in a fray. This folk-lore is by no 
means confined to Sligo ; it is common in almost every district 
in Ireland. On this subject P. W. Joyce remarks : 

" It is supposed that sometimes the little people of two neighbour- 
ing forts quarrel, and fight sanguinary battles. These encounters 
always take place at night. . . . Certain forts in some of the northern 
counties, whose inhabitants are often engaged in warfare, have, from 
these conflicts, got the name of Lisnascragh, the fort of the screeching. 
Very often when you pass a lonely fort on a dark night, you will be 
astonished to see a light shining from it ; the fairies are then at some 
work of their own, and you will do well to pass on and not disturb 
them. From the frequency of this apparition, it has come to pass that 
many forts are called Lisnagannell and Lisnagunnell, the fort of the 
candles. . . . We must not suppose that these fearful lights are 
always the creation of the peasants' imagination. JS"o doubt they have 
been in many instances actually seen, and we must attribute them to 
that curious phenomenon the ignis fatuus, or Will-o'-the-wisp. But 
the people will not listen to this, for they know well that all such 
apparitions are the work of the good people." 


Numerous instances of a similar nature could be cited. 
There is a fort on the edge of the cliff, close to a locality named 
Pollnamaddow on Coney Island ; but here in addition to the 
fights an old islander avers that many years ago he saw lights 
in the place one night, and heard the sounds of fairy festivities ; 
he added, however, that since the abolition of illicit distillation 
these tiny inhabitants of his island had all emigrated, or had 
perhaps, returned to Tirnanoge ! 

Duels bore a certain halo of legality, for single combats were 
formerly a very prevalent mode of "administering justice " in 
Ireland : they were authorized by law and usually occurred in 
presence of a distinguished company of onlookers. If the 
encounter was between two Irish chiefs, it was regarded with 
special favour. One of the last recorded exhibitions of this 
nature took place between Conor Mac Cormac O'Conor and Teige 
Mac Gilpatrick O'Conor. They fought with broadswords and 
skeans (large knives or daggers) in the Castle of Dublin, in the 
presence of the Archbishop and all the chief authorities. 

Descending to times more modern, Sir Jonah Barrington, in 
his Personal Sketches and Recollections, states that he remembered 
two hundred and twenty-seven " memorable and official duels " 
having been fought during his " grand climacteric ;" for in 
Ireland the period noted for duelling was prior to the Union. 

"Sligo then furnished some of the finest young fellows, 
i. e. fire-eaters," remarks the above writer ; " their spirit and 
decorum were equally admirable, and their honour and liber- 
ality conspicuous on all occasions." A few of these earnest 
spirits fashioned a series of pandects which may be said to have 
regulated the practice of duelling till its final extinction ; or, 
again, to quote the foregoing authority, " Sligo had many pro- 
fessors, and a high reputation in the leaden branch of the 
pastime." The code was entitled, The practice of duelling and 
points of honour settled at Clonmell Summer Assizes, 1777, by the 
gentlemen delegates of Tipperary, Gahvay, Mayo, Sligo, and Bos- 
common, and prescribed for general adoption throughout Ireland. 

A sarcastic writer observed that sometimes "painful dis- 


agreements have been known to arise between the seconds, 
which could only be arranged by the same agency as the prin- 
cipals availed themselves of." 

Some of the following descriptions of encounters are extracts 
from the Dublin Mercury : " Sligo, August 23, 1770. This 
day Mr. Daniel Feely, attorney, was tried by a most respectable 
jury of this county for killing Mr. - - in a duel, and was 
honourably acquitted." 

In the same year a notorious duellest was arrested in con- 
sequence of having " killed his man." He was taken to Sligo ; 
but on his arrival there, refused to go to gaol, saying " it 
was a dirty place, and not fit for a gentleman." His captors 
accordingly took him to an inn. There a county magnate 
found him, and entering into conversation with the recalcitrant 
prisoner, was so pleased with his manners, that he carried him 
off to his own residence, where he was allowed to stay till 
his trial. 

"The misunderstanding " which occurred in the year 1772 
between the Lords Townsend and Bellamont was a "model 
difficulty." Lord Townsend was then Lord Lieutenant of 
Ireland ; and craving audience, in company with other gentle- 
men, one morning came the Earl of Bellamont, a Sligo noble- 
man. To him entered an aide-de-camp with a message that the 
Earl need not wait, for that his Excellency would not be at 
leisure to see him that day ; and then turning to the others 
bade them wait, as his Excellency would see them presently. 
"Sir," said the Earl to the aide-de-camp, "you will be good 
enough to inform his Excellency that, as a peer of the realm, 
I have a RIGHT to audience ; but if his Excellency does not 
know what he owes me, I know what I owe to myself, and 
therefore will not wait upon him here or elsewhere." 

The Earl resigned his commission in the army in order that 
he might with more propriety proceed in the matter ; and the 
lovers of that mode of adjusting differences were gratified with 
a sensational duel. "When the Lord Lieutenant had quitted 
Ireland, the two noblemen met, and the Earl was destined to 
be the sufferer, but finally recovered after a doubtful struggle. 


A knowledge of pistol-practice, and everything connected 
therewith, was necessary for the exigencies of every-day life, 
and was specially necessary in the Irish Parliament, for "no 
senators made such vociferous claim for freedom of debate, but 
they had the greatest disgust for freedom of comment." The 
best illustration of this is the celebrated duel between Hely 
Hutchinson who was for some time one of the members for 
the borough of Sligo and another senator. On one occasion 
Hely Hutchinson was making the House in College Green ring 
with the echoes of his voice, and most of the members deaf with 
the thunder of his vociferation ; and when he (Hutchinson) paused 
a moment to draw breath, Dr. Lucas said quietly, without any 
distinct intention of being heard by the orator or any other 
person, " Eest, rest, perturbed spirit! " A challenge ensued; the 
respective parties met, but the affair was not interesting, for 
the actors left the field as they entered it. 

In 1782, during the exciting times of the Irish Volunteers, 
two members of the legal profession (in court) waxed so violent 
in argument that from words they came to blows. The more 
powerful of the two clenched the discussion by knocking down 
his adversary, exclaiming, " I'll make you behave yourself like 
a gentleman ;" to which the prostrated man, on rising indig- 
nantly retorted, " No, sir ; never. I defy you." No casualty 
occurred from the subsequent meeting. 

The celebrated duel between Hyacinth commonly called 
Centy O'Eorke and Philip C. Perceval is so well known, that 
a bare outline will suffice. The two gentlemen quarrelled ; and 
the former, who was of a fiery and impetuous temperament, was 
the challenger. The place of meeting selected was situated not 
far from Chaffpool, on a well-known rath (Liscat), command- 
ing a beautiful panoramic view ; and although safe from inter- 
ruption by the authorities, yet the encounter took place in 
presence of an immense crowd of country-people. O'Eorke 
" won the toss " for the favourable position ; and as he was 
reputed to be a dead shot, Perceval's second exclaimed, " This 
is murder ; " upon which O'Eorke, in a foolish spirit of bravado, 
changed sides. He fired first and missed ; whereupon Perceval 


demanded an apology, which O'Rorke refused. Perceval then 
took aim at his antagonist and shot him dead, the ball entering 
just over the eye. A woman forming one of the crowd present 
cried out that " God saved his beautiful blue eye." Perceval 
and his party had to ride for their lives from the infuriated 
orowd, whose sympathies were all enlisted on the side of 

On the 22nd May, 1798, " a meeting took place between an 

officer of militia and Mr. F , an attorney : they fired two 

shots without any effect, and were afterwards reconciled." In 
short all classes appeared to be devoted to this mode of settling 
differences. Gentlemen who had been intimate acquaintances 
often so met without any sufficient cause but on what then 
seemed to be a point that touched their honour ; whilst amongst 
the peasantry there was nothing so thoroughly appreciated as a 
public duel ; and in 1815 the memorable meeting between Mr. 
IFenton and Major Hillas took place in presence of an assembled 
mob. The quarrel was aggravated by political antipathies, but 
its immediate cause arose from a dissension with regard to the 
circumstances of the wreck of a vessel off the Tireragh coast, 
when some remarks made by Major Hillas gave offence to Mr. 

Major Hillas went to the ground Kilmacowen in a full 
suit of mourning, and he was morally brave enough to say to 
the assembled crowd, " I am sorry that the mistaken laws of 
honour oblige me to come here and defend myself; and I 
declare to God I have no animosity to man or woman on the 
face of the earth." Hillas fell dead at the first fire. Mr. 
Fenton was put on his trial at the next assizes in Sligo, and 
acquitted. In fact in those duelling days such a trial was a 
mere matter of form, provided that judge and jury were of 
opinion everything had been conducted according to the pre- 
scribed rules in such cases. 1 

Many years afterwards when Mr. Fenton was living in 
Dublin, he took exception to some observations made by Mr. 

1 The following entry occurs in the Crown Book, Lent Assizes, 1816 : 
" True bill. Verdict, Not Guilty, &c. 


M 1, a Sligo solicitor ; lie sent him a hostile message, but 

the legal gentleman refused to meet him. Next morning the 
following advertisement appeared in the Saunders 9 News-Letter: 

" To BE SOLD, a pair of duelling pistols, the owner having no 
further use for them. Apply," &c., 

and here followed the solicitor's Dublin address. 

The following morning shortly after the solicitor's office was 
opened, an officer from the neighbouring barracks entered, and 
requested to be shown the pistols in question. He was told 
there were none for sale, upon which, producing the newspaper 
he pointed out the advertisement, and demanded to know what 
was meant by thus joking at his expense. With some trouble 
he was got rid of, but another and another inquirer came in 
all on the same errand ; finally the door of the office had to be 
closed, and its occupant went to the country for some time. 

Another Sligo gentleman having had a quarrel with a brother 
officer, a meeting was arranged for sunset the same evening. 
After mess the Colonel of the regiment challenged him to a 
game of chess, but in the middle of the game, he rose, telling 
his commanding officer he would return in a few minutes. He 
did so, after having severely wounded his antagonist, and he 
then went on with the game of chess as if nothing particular 
had occurred. 

The local and the Dublin papers of the time were full of duel- 
ling intelligence. Dr. William Urwick, Congregational Minister 
in Sligo, had the reputation of having on several occasions suc- 
ceeded in averting these " affairs of honour." One well-known 
case was that of a field-officer who resided close to the town of 
Sligo. He had been through the Peninsular campaign and had 
fought bravely at the storming of Badajoz. A challenge was 
sent to him, although he had neither done, nor intended, any- 
thing offensive to his adversary. Dr. Urwick found him seated 
at dinner with the " friends " who were to be his " seconds," 
and neither his wife nor children knew aught of what was about 
to occur, although next morning he might be brought home to 
them a corpse. After dinner Dr. Urwick introduced the subject 


to him when alone, hut he argued that he had no alternative 
save to accept the challenge or he written down a coward by 
his comrades. Dr. Urwick, however, persevered in his efforts and 
finally succeeded in preventing the duel. 

On the 23rd July, 1822, a meeting took place between Mr. 
Edward M'Dermott, and Mr. Denis O'Conor. The first fire 
proving ineffectual, the parties were provided with second pistols, 
on the discharge of which both gentlemen were severely wounded, 
Mr. O'Conor's ball having passed through the left pectoral muscle 
of his adversary, lacerating a considerable branch of the thoracic 
artery, which caused a great effusion of blood. Mr. M'Dermott's 
ball entered the covering of the abdominal muscle, which was 
extracted by Dr. Hughes, who was on the spot." 

A duel occurred 21st October, 1823, between J n Mt 

and J s M'D h. The parties exchanged shots without 

injury to either. In April, 1825, a wordy war took place 
between the Editor of The Sligo Journal and the Editor of its 
rival The Western Luminary. There was a challenge to mortal 
combat ; ink was spilt on the occasion, but no blood. 

In a duel which occurred about this period, one of the prin- 
cipals fell at the first fire, killed, as it was thought ; his life how- 
ever had been saved by a knife (manufactured by Barton Smith, a 
well-known Sligo cutler) which was fortunately in his waistcoat 
pocket at the time. The knife and flattened bullet are still 
preserved in the family as mementos. 

When on a visit to Ballyshannon, a quarrel arose between 
a Sligo gentleman and an officer ; the latter being in uniform 
drew his sword, whereupon the former claimed the right of using 
that weapon at the meeting ; the officer's second, however, re- 
fused to consent to this arrangement, the Sligo gentleman being 
celebrated for his skill at fence. At the first exchange of shots 
the officer sprang into the air and dropped dead, shot through 
the heart. 

John or as he was universally called Jack Taaffe was a 
notorious duellist, ever on the look-out for a pretext for a quarrel ; 
the stories related of him, his eccentricities and encounters, are 


A meeting took place between Mr. Duke and Mr. Holmes ; 
between Messrs. Phibbs and Grethin ; Doctors Coyne and Carter. 
There were other duels which do not call for special remark. 

A duel was fought near the Mall, Sligo, between a Mr. 
Ci ill in or mid Mr. Irwin. This was the second encounter the 
former had on the same day. Mr. Irwin was the second of his 
first opponent, and was accused by Mr. Gillmor of having 
fomented the original quarrel. Both fell, badly wounded, at 
the first fire. 

Disputes in court, particularly over the registration of voters, 
led to heated arguments which frequently ended in a hostile 
meeting. On one occasion the presiding barrister adjourned 
the court for an hour, ostensibly with the object of allowing the 
two disputants " to have a consultation." It is needless to add 
that the interested parties with the assistance of their seconds 
settled matters at twelve paces distance : neither of them, how- 
ever, was wounded, and the temporary animosity being thus 
removed the business of the court was resumed within the limited 
time allowed by the barrister for a " consultation." 

Contemporaneous accounts of the following encounters ap- 
peared in the various issues of the local newspapers : 

On the 29th January, 1829, a hostile meeting had been 

contemplated between J. GK J and I. B k. The parties 

reached the ground somewhat before the appointed hour ; but 
the constabulary had taken time by the forelock, and in a few 
moments were in sight. Mr. J - mounted his horse and 
eluded them in game style. The other gentleman, after having 
made his way to Sligo, was not so fortunate, however, for late 
at night he was arrested, and compelled to enter into recogni- 
zances to keep the peace. 

In consequence of a misunderstanding that occurred between 
Counsellor Wynne and Mr. John Martin, these gentlemen met 
in the vicinity of the town. After an exchange of shots, which 
proved harmless, further hostilities were prevented by the arrival 
of the sheriff, who arrested all the parties on the ground. 

A meeting took place on Sunday morning, 23rd January, 
1836, at Camphill, near Collooney, between H. Fawcett and 


P. Somers, in the presence of a large number of the peasantry, 
who were there gathered contrary to the agreement previously 
made as regards privacy. Somers fell at the first discharge. 
Though wounded and disabled, Somers gave utterance to such 
language that Fawcett's second refused to withdraw him from 
the ground until requested so to do by Somers' second. Fawcett 
and his party had a narrow escape ; the slightest false step 
might have led to a murderous attack on them by the sur- 
rounding mob. 

A duel took place at Cummin on 17th May, 1836 ; three 
shots were exchanged ; but though in each instance the clothing 
of the principals was cut by the bullets, no actual wound was 

Party feeling in the month of January of the following 
year ran high. Barristers engaged in the Registry Courts, 
supervising the enrolling of voters on their respective sides, 
carried their vindictive feelings beyond the precincts of the 
Law Courts, and several hostile meetings took place. That 
which was arranged on 7th January, 1837, between Counsellors 
Baker and Casserly was interrupted by the police ; but this had 
only the effect of retarding the meeting until the following 
day, when they met at the Five-Mile-Bourn, where shots were 
exchanged. The meeting, however, was again broken up by 
the constabulary, and the unpopular principal was stoned by the 
mob as he effected his escape on horseback the duel, as usual, 
having taken place in presence of the assembled country-side. 

On the 14th January of the same year a hostile meeting 
took place at Bomore between Counsellors Walker and Eamsay. ^ 
Three shots were exchanged, neither party being hit. 

On 4th August, 1840, a duel was prevented by the timely 
arrival of the police. 

After the imprisonment of 0* Conn ell the town of Sligo 
seems to have been greatly agitated. The editor of the Sligo 
Journal had a newspaper dispute with the editor of the Champion. 
The constabulary were notified of the projected meeting, and 
the affair ended in a fiasco, which may be said to have formed 
a fitting conclusion to duelling in Sligo ; although so late as the 


year 1869, a well-known Harbour Commissioner and Justice of 
the Peace was removed from his position in the former capacity, 
and his commission in the latter, for doing what but a few 
years previously would have been considered as being merely 
a spirited action, namely, at a public meeting inviting his 
opponent if he felt aggrieved to commit a breach of the 
peace ! 

One of the first crimes recounted of the dwellers in Sligo 
was the stealing of the horses belonging to St. Patrick's Chariot 
by the inhabitants of Tirerrill ; and Arthur Young, in his Tour 
in Ireland, states that in his time the larceny of iron shoes off 
the hoofs of horses turned out to graze was of common occur- 
rence, and regularly organized bands of robbers existed for a 
lengthened period. 

The following extracts taken from local newspapers appear 
to be typical of various periods of agitation. In 1779, on the 
spread of tillage throughout the country, pressure legal and 
illegal was put on the landlords to abandon their grazing farms, 
and let them to tenants. Those who adhered to the grazing 
system had their cattle mutilated ; and a special commission 
sat in Sligo for the trial of a number of persons then in gaol, 
charged with " houghing cattle, and other notorious crimes." 

In August, 1782, it was stated that : 

" On Tuesday last was committed to the county gaol, by Lewis 
Francis Irwin, Esq., Michael Kenny, Owen Kenny, Maurice Marley, 
and Francis M'Cowen, taken in a riot the 20th instant at the fair of 
Beltra, in this county. They were part of a gang lately formed, and, 
it was said, often met in the baronies of Leyny and Tireragh ; were 
in number not less than two hundred, who call themselves ' the regi- 
ment of cudgelers,' and said they were commanded by one Meaghan. 
At the fair and place above mentioned, above a hundred of them 
assembled, with oak boughs, and armed with cudgels and other wea- 
pons, offending and striking several people as they passed along. A 
party of The Independent Tyreril Volunteers, engaged in recruiting for 
the navy, was attacked by this daring banditti, who pelted them so 
severely with stones as to oblige them to take shelter for some time in 
the Strand-house ; but Mr. Irwin, hearing of the affair, went imme- 
diately to their assistance." 


In 1792 several gentlemen according to the evidence of 
Colonel Irwin were actually besieged in their residences until 
relieved by the military. This agitation culminated in the 
rebellion of 1798. 

A gentleman, writing on the 17th May, 1797, to a friend 
in England, says : 

" Now to inform you of the situation of this country at present, 
and the immediate prospect before us. ... They began a few days ago 
by burning the haggards of Mr. Thomas Jones of Mount Edward, a 
few miles below Sligo ; a few nights after they burned the house of 
Mr. Henry at Knocknarea ; a few nights after stripped Mr. Wynne's 
gatehouse of the lead, which they took for bullets ; and the night 
before last, set fire to the haggard of Mr. A. Irwjn_of Willowbrook. 
It is thought they will burn on without mercy or distinction. There 
is a total stop to trade ; no circulation of money ; no demand 
for cattle the graziers afraid to buy, they are in such dread of 

In November, 1799, the " cattle markets were very bad, 
and the crops in a dismal way." In March of the following 
year provisions of all kinds were very scarce and amazingly 
high in price; starvation among the poor was dreaded. 

In 1806 the state of the county more particularly the 
barony of Tireragh was so disturbed that it occasioned a 
debate in the House of Lords ; and agitation again occurred in 
1817 ; whilst consequent on the distress which prevailed in 
1822, outrages in Tireragh were of constant occurrence. 

It was stated that 

" Scarcely does a night pass in which meetings of armed parties do 
not take place in Tourmore, Curbally, and other parts of the parish 
of Castleconnor, bordering a district called Coolcarney, in the county 
Mayo. This latter district of Coolcarney has been for a long time, 
and still is, in a most lawless state ; the most disgraceful atrocities 
are constantly perpetrated there, especially upon individuals who are 
known to be obedient to the laws. Colonel Irwin, High Sheriff of the 
county, has requested a meeting of the magistrates of his bailiwick at 
an early hour on the commission day of our coming assizes ' to take 
into consideration the outrages of an insurrectionary character which 
have lately been committed in a part of this county, and to deliberate 
on the most speedy and effectual means of suppressing the same.' " 

Y 2 


In 1823 there was a great spread of the Eibbon system ; 
whilst in 1826 it was no rare occurrence in the barony of 
Tireragh for sheep to be killed, skinned, and the flesh carried 
away. Other outrages of more serious nature were often super- 
added, such as the firing of haggards ; the robbery of arms ; 
threatening notices, embellished with pictures of coffins the 
date of decease of the recipient being inscribed on them fur- 
nished also with representations of guns and other usual insignia 
denoting terrorism ; and from this date up to 1830 threatening 
letters were very common. 

A Sligo newspaper of the year 1828 set forth how a gentle- 
man " was under the necessity of sending a distraining warrant 
for the impounding, &c., of cattle belonging to some tenants of 
his, who would pay no other than the * Catholic Kent.' On the 
authority under which they (the bailiffs) were about to act 
being produced to the landholders, they * simultaneously ' ex- 
pressed their determination to resist any writ which did not 
issue direct from King O'Connell. The people were, however, 
induced to listen to reason, and they ultimately submitted to 
the mandate of King Greorge." 

In 1829 the long report of a committee appointed by the 
Protestants of Sligo to inquire "into the extent of exclusive 
dealing," contained the following instructive paragraph : 

" The strict scrutiny your committee has made forces conviction 
on their minds that this iniquitous anti- social measure has been pur- 
sued to an injurious extent in this town and county. Depositions now 
in the possession of this committee justify them in stating that atro- 
cious intimidations have been used towards several individuals to 
prevent them dealing with Protestants." 

Numerous instances are cited, and " exclusive dealing " or 
at least an attempt at effecting that object was rife in 1830. 
The following notice was given as an example : 

" Rockhill, May 9, 1830. Captain Bock wishes to give the public 
notice that any person or persons that will leave one penny or the 
smallest dealing with ... in the town of Sligo, I will pay him a visit, 
not without company, and I will have blood spilt." 


In December, 1836, there was a revival of " exclusive 
dealing." In 1838 there was the notorious disagreement 
between Mr. Sims and Mr. Kelly relative to the sale of the 
Camphill Mills, during which period the former individual was, 
to use a modern expression, strictly " boycotted." No person 
was allowed to deal with him, and those who disobeyed the 
secret mandate of the conspirators suffered. For example, " the 
ears of a horse belonging to a man who had sold grain " to 
Mr. Sims " were cut off, and the carman's life was threatened." 
This conspiracy was directed against Mr. Sims. But in De- 
cember, 1840, a combination existed in the neighbourhood of 
Collooney and in Tireragh against Mr. Kelly, who had erected 
a potato-starch manufactory, giving great umbrage thereby to 
the peasantry, who conceived that the increased consumption of 
potatoes would raise their already high price. Persons selling 
to Mr. Kelly were therefore threatened, as also the men in his 
employment ; and to such an extent was the system of intimi- 
dation carried, that the manufactory was compelled to cease 

During the first quarter of this century two secret societies 
existed which had for object the curtailment of the fees payable 
to the Roman Catholic clergy for performing marriages, bap- 
tisms, and other rites of their Church. This movement might 
probably have been successful had the agitation been confined 
to strictly legal measures ; but the persons who thus attempted 
to " fix a fair rent " on the clergy proceeded to such extre- 
mities that they placed themselves within the meshes of the 
law; and a special commission was opened in Sligo, at the 
close of the year 1806, for the purpose of trying some of these 
agitators then designated " Threshers " who were in the 
habit of visiting the house of any person who had (as they 
considered) paid too much to the priest, dragging the delin- 
quent out of bed, and " carding " him. Their manner of dis- 
guising themselves to avoid recognition was simple in the 
extreme ; they blackened their faces, and wore a white shirt 
over their clothes. 


In 1806 Lady Morgan, then Miss Owenson, thus describes 
an interview she had with a Sligo peasant relative to the dis- 
pute about tithes. " He was going to Sligo for some grains for 
a sick cow, not being able, he said, to procure any at Ballina, 
whence he had just come. As Ballina and its neighbourhood had 
been the head- quarters of the Threshers, I made some inquiries 
relative to their operations. ' Why/ replied he, * they are busy 
enough at present with the tithe-proctors ; and they have 
barred a priest out of his chapel in the hope of making him 
lower his dues, threatening to go to church if he does not, not 
being able to pay both priest and minister, since the proctors 
have raised the tithes and the priest his dues. For my own 
part church or mass is all one to me.'" 

In former times the clergymen of the Irish Church, as by 
law established, derived the principal part of their income from 
tithes, which were in the last century generally taken in kind 
from wheat, barley, oats, flax, wool, hay, &c. The usual 
mode of collecting tithes at the commencement of this century 
was by an agent, called a proctor, who, immediately before 
harvest, estimated the quantity of corn, hay, or flax, which he 
supposed then to be on the ground, and charging the market 
price ascertained the amount to be paid by the owner. In 
some cases the incumbent let his tithe as he might a farm, and 
the money was collected from the occupier ; but very frequently 
the lessee re-let the tithe to another, and the former was then 
styled the middle proctor. In Sligo it was customary previous 
to harvest to call a sale, at which the tithe was disposed of to 
any person who chose to buy it ; but in this manner it would 
sell for little, did not the temptation of a promissory-note at six 
months induce persons to bid. According to Cobbett's Parlia- 
mentary Debates there were 146 actions respecting tithe tried in 
the year 1807 at the Quarter Sessions in the County Sligo. 

It was in the year 1806 that the " threshing- system " was 
instituted amongst the peasantry, and gangs went about forc- 
ing upon the. people an oath not to take their tithes to the 
parson on any terms, but to leave to him the task of collecting 
and drawing them home. 


In addition to the tithes proper, others of a very uncommon 
description were occasionally attempted to be levied, and a most 
interesting and amusing controversy on this subject afterwards 
printed in pamphlet form arose between Sir Jonah Barringtou 
and the Eev. Leslie Battersby, Eector and Vicar of Skreen. 
Battersby claimed a due styled "family money." The case 
was tried in Sligo before a judge and special jury, who decided 
against the claim. 

For a considerable period from the year 1813 the then 
Eector of Emlaghfad and one of his rich parishioners who 
had several large farms in the parishes which composed the 

union were in litigation about the tithes. Mr. D was 

at length cited to the Ecclesiastical Court, and a bill in Chan- 
cery was filed against him on account of the tithes alleged to 
be due for wool and lambs. To this was added potatoes a 
claim previously unheard of in Sligo, for M'Parlan, writing in 
1801, states that potatoes were exempt from tithe. The gen- 
tlemen of the county sided with Mr. D . A public meeting 

was called, a subscription raised, a committee appointed, and a 
memorial forwarded to the Viceroy. On the 15th May, 1822, 
Mr. Cooper " presented a petition to the House of Commons 
from the County Sligo, complaining of the claims recently set 
up for tithe upon potatoes, no such claim having ever before 
been asserted in that quarter of the country." 

In the year 1815 any persons who bought tithe-corn or oats 
were visited by disguised gangs of men by night, the corn and 
oats threshed, and the proceeds carried off. The cause of these 
disturbances was finally to a great extent rectified by the com- 
position of tithes, 4 George IV. c. 99. 

In 1843 there was a revival amongst the peasantry of the 
agitation against the fees charged by their priests. The move- 
ment appears to have originated in Mayo, whence it spread 
to Sligo. The Eoman Catholic parishioners of Skreen and 
Achonry adopted the " new rules ; " but after several meetings 
had been held, the majority of the parishes decided to resist the 
movement. There were, however, many riots before the agita- 
tion quieted down. 


In December, 1847, the county was much disturbed. Moon- 
lighting was of nightly occurrence. Several clergymen were 
forced to leave their glebe-houses, and one parson was fired at. 
In a parish where a notice had been posted threatening the 
rector with death, his Protestant parishioners gave counter- 
notice that in the event of either their parson or any of his 
friends falling by the hands of an assassin, " the life of the 
parish priest should expiate the crime." The agitation in that 
parish, after the succeeding Sunday, suddenly collapsed. 

From 1880 to 1884 Tubbercurry and its neighbourhood 
enjoyed an unenviable notoriety. It was one of the few places 
in the county where outrages were common, and where law and 
order were systematically put aside. Absence from the locality 
did not protect those marked out, for one unfortunate man who 
had gone to Aughris in Tireragh, for benefit of his health, was 
followed, and his ears cut off. A sub-inspector was fired at ; 
the life of the Clerk of the Union was attempted ; two police- 
constables were fired at, as were also two resident landlords. 
These outrages were carried on with a systematic secrecy which 
baffled the police ; whilst even dumb brutes belonging to 
unpopular persons were maltreated and ill-used. 

On Saturday morning, 12th June, 1886, it was discovered 
that wilful damage had been done to the piers of the gate 
of the Roman Catholic Cathedral, as also to the entrance 
to the Presbytery. The damage was trivial, and would 
probably not have excited much comment but for the dis- 
turbances then occurring in Belfast ; and it was given out 
that the Protestants of Sligo had been the offenders. Mobs 
paraded the streets, smashing the windows of householders. 
However, a reward of 100 was offered by the Protestant 
inhabitants of the borough for discovery of the perpetrators of 
the outrage, and one of the delinquents turned informer. It 
was then discovered that the mischief at the Cathedral and 
Presbytery had been effected by three Eoman Catholics, 1 who 

1 The Indictment in the Crown Book is as follows : 
" Patrick Curren, James Cleary, Ind. That they, 12th June, 1886, at 
Sligo, in the county of Sligo, unlawfully did conspire, combine, confederate, 



afterwards acted as ringleaders of the mob in their attacks 
on houses. Eleven persons in all were brought to justice. 
The majority pleaded guilty ; they were convicted, and sen- 
tenced to various terms of imprisonment, and the following 
acknowledgment was signed by the informer and published in 
the local newspaper : 

" Eeceived from the Protestant Reward Committee of Sligo the 
sum of 100 for giving such information as led to the conviction of 
Pat Curreen and James Cleary, who committed the outrage on the 
Eoman Catholic Cathedral on the night of Friday, the llth June, 

" (Signed) 

" Witnesses present : 

" (Signed) 

" HENKY A. ALLEN, A. C. Inspector, D. I., E.I. C. 


" Dated Sligo, 9th day of July, 1886." 

The damage inflicted by the mob on Protestant house- 
holders was made good to them by means of subscriptions 
raised by the Eoman Catholics of the town. Since that period 
both county and borough have been models of peace and quiet. 
At the summer assizes (1890) the Lord Chief Justice O'Brien, 
in addressing the Grand Jury, said : " The criminal statistics 
of your county or rather, I should say, the absence of criminal 
statistics in your county, because there is no subject-matter of 
that description to deal with enables me to congratulate you 
upon its very satisfactory condition. Boycotting is practically 
non-existent in this county, and the constabulary return is most 
satisfactory. I trust that this favourable and happy state of 
things will continue." 

and agree amongst themselves, maliciously to commit, and did commit 
damage to certain real property, that is to say, to the piers of the wall of the 
Courtyard of the Cathedral at Sligo, and to the piers of the gate leading to 
the House called the Presbytery at Sligo, and to the wall separating 
Catherine Tighe's house from the high-road, by knocking down and dis- 
placing the stones, with which same were built, &c." 


The Grand Jury for financial purposes have the power 
of raising and expending large sums of county money, 1 which 
they determine by a majority present and voting. The mem- 
bers are twenty -three in number. When sworn in before the 
High Sheriff for fiscal business their deliberations are carried 
on in public ; after being sworn in before the judge for criminal 
business, in camera. 

The Grand Jury generally assembles by summons from 
the High Sheriff some two or three days before the arrival of 
the Judges of Assize, in order to enable the fiscal business 
to be completed. The jurors are re-sworn before the Crown 
Judge to reject or find true bills against persons awaiting 

Owing to the loss of the county-books the only names of 
secretaries of the Grand Jury which could be ascertained are : 
P. Mac Donogh, circa 1799 ; James MacDonogh, 1813 ; James 
Christian, 1815 ; Eobert Christian, 1819 ; James Christian, 
1851 ; St. G. J. Martin, 1865 ; W. T. Vernon, 1876 (present 
secretary). The Clerks of the Peace were : James Christian, 
1813; E. Christian, 1819; E. B. Wynne, 1820; Edward 
Jones, 1851 ; Utred Knox, 1864 ; Eandal Peyton, 1868 ; C. 
B. Wynne, 1875 ; Cochran Davys, 1886. 

In 1877 an Act was passed joining the office of Clerk of the 
Crown and Peace on the death of the holder of any one of these 
offices. In 1886 (on the death of Mr. Clancy) Mr. Davys was 
appointed temporary Clerk of the Crown, and on the resignation 
of C. B. Wynne, Mr. Davys was appointed to the joint office of 
Clerk of the Crown and Peace. 

County- cess is essentially a tax on the land in this respect 
differing from poor-rate, which is a tax on the person occupy- 
ing the land or tenement. The amount of cess levied in any 
one year depends on the requirements of the county for that 

1 In 1843 the total valuation of the county was 188,622; in 1865, 
208,906; in 1869, 208,719 : in 1870 (the area of the Borough being 
withdrawn from the Government of the Grand Jury), 191,044 ; in 1875, 
193,562; in 1885, 194,421 ; in 1890, 194,475. 


A list of all " queries " is made out by the Clerk of the 
Crown after each assize, and which he is bound to hand to the 
secretary of the Grand Jury within seven days from the end of 
the assizes. The secretary must then applot the amount on the 
several tenements in the county, and hand to each collector 
(within two months after having received the list from the 
Clerk of the Crown), a fair copy of so much of the applot- 
ment as shall relate to his district, together with a warrant 
authorizing the collector to enforce payment. 

The purposes to which county-cess is applied are numerous : 
such as building and repairing bridges, making and repairing 
roads, supporting the Infirmary, Fever Hospital, Lunatic 
Asylum, maintaining the Courthouse and the Petty Sessions, 
paying salaries of county officers, and the cost of any extra 
police. The cess may be averaged at about 2s. 3d. in the 1 
on the valuation, or about 21,874 per annum. It is collected 
in two instalments one in spring and one in summer. 

From the earliest times of the eighteenth century illicit 
distillation seems to have been carried on more or less in Sligo, 
and the authorities and those engaged in this contraband traffic 
may be said to have been in continual conflict. The last quarter 
of the eighteenth century was noted for its hard drinkers. An 
observant writer asserts, however, that in 1800 excessive drink- 
ing in Sligo was on the decline ; but the vice had left its effects 
in an increase of the number of insane as returned to the 
Grand Jury at each assizes. M'Parlan stated that the use of 
both spirits and beer had diminished greatly a fact which he 
attributed to the dearness of food supplies. 

In 1815 the fall in price of provisions of all kinds was 
sudden and great. It was occasioned by the cessation of the 
war on the Continent, which had produced a brisk demand for 
all agricultural produce ; and there had been also a modification 
of the corn laws. 

Secret distillation was the readiest means open to the people 
of paying their rents and supporting their families. Various 
stratagems were employed to elude the vigilance of the revenue 


officers. A contemporaneous observer thus describes their pro- 
ceedings : 

" Sometimes their materials were concealed in caves and in stacks 
of corn ; at other times they removed them to the bogs or mountains, 
where they distilled the liquor. While at work they generally had a 
couple of videttes on the road by which the searching party was likely 
to approach, who, on perceiving them, conveyed the intelligence with 
great speed ; so that everything was removed in time. But their 
surest safeguard was to keep the constable or confidential guide em- 
ployed by the revenue officer in constant pay, as he could either keep 
back the information, or, should he find his employer intent on paying 
an unsuspected visit when his friends were at work, he could despatch 
a messenger to warn them of their danger." 

Notwithstanding their many escapes, through stratagem, 
bribery, and want of exertion on the part of the revenue officers, 
yet the people who followed this precarious and dangerous 
occupation often suffered severe losses, and sometimes were 
reduced to beggary. Owing to the increased vigilance of the 
police, it is now-a-days extremely difficult to distil spirit from 
oats and barley. It is now principally made from molasses ; 
and owing to the rapidity of the manufacture it is styled " 48," 
as it is manufactured in that number of hours. The most suc- 
cessful, and certainly the most audacious, " brew " which was 
ever attempted in the county was one made in a house adjoin- 
ing a police barrack ! 

Bitter are the complaints made by those still engaged in 
illicit distillation at the new and improved telescopes used by 
the police, which enable them to perceive smoke curling up in 
suspicious localities. With these surreptitious distillers it is, 
however, a case of a house divided against itself. The seizures 
effected by the police are generally made from information 
given by neighbours, or rivals in the business. 

Prior to the year 1831 fines of 50 were inflicted on a 
townland for every illicit still discovered on it. This, however, 
was found in many cases to inflict great injustice, and to enrich 
the Excise officers and informers at the expense of the agri- 
cultural community. It was finally found to work in such 


an iniquitous manner that an Act was passed repealing the 

A gentleman who greatly relished a drop of " the native " 
had on one occasion stowed away in his cellar three five gallon 
kegs, being the entire stock of a then well-known illicit distiller 
named Pat - - ; early next morning he heard the tramp of 
men outside, and saw, to his horror, the revenue officer and his 
party in front of the house. The officer expressed a wish to 
speak in private to the gentleman, and thereupon his unwilling 
host ushered him into his dining-room, underneath the floor of 
which the contraband whiskey was then stored. A long apology 
was made by the officer for disturbing him at such an unreason- 
able hour, but the fact was that acting on information which he 
could not doubt, he (the officer) had broken into the house of 

Pat , without a warrant or legal authority, and having 

there found no trace of illicit spirits, he had under these circum- 
stances, come to him in all haste, knowing his great influence 

with Pat . The officer was assured that the affair could 

be easily arranged for a consideration and Pat's indignant 
feelings being solaced, all parties in the transaction felt equally 
satisfied at the final result. 

Another incident in which the revenue officer was outwitted 
is thus recounted : A man who was filling a crib of turf and 
had just concealed in it a keg of poteen which he purposed 
selling in Sligo, suddenly noticed that a neighbour, with whom 
he was not on very good terms, had been observing him. He 
felt certain that information would be given to the authorities, 
but he continued filling up the crib, as a plan had just occurred 
to him by means of which he hoped to evade detection. Another 
neighbour on whom he could rely was also going to Sligo, with 
a crib of turf. This man's horse was bay in colour, whilst his 
own was white ; an exchange of steeds was effected, and the cart 
with the bay horse was allowed an hour's start. All went well 
with the bay ; Sligo was reached and the keg of poteen safely 
delivered, but when the white horse with his crib of turf was 
passing the barracks, the revenue officer in charge inquired the 
price. The owner asked nearly double the market value of the 


commodity, and the buyer, who thought he had his prey in the 
toils, was not particularly keen in bargaining too closely. The 
load was purchased, and the late owner very slowly and with 
seeming reluctance proceeded to carry in the fuel. Creel fol- 
lowed creel, but no keg appeared, until at length the ganger 
realized the fact that both he and the turf had been well 

On the seacoast, distillation and smuggling were carried on 
more openly and with more daring ; even when the " preventive 
water-guard " made a seizure, it was very often rescued m et 
armis by the country people. Such an instance occurred near 
Pullendiva, 24th November, 1821, when the water- guards were 
obliged to fly for their lives, abandoning the contraband goods 
which they had captured, and a reward of 100 was totally 
inoperative in leading to the identification of their assailants. 
On March 5th of the following year a large seizure of malt was 
made at Doonacoy Mill, in Tireragh, but the country people 
assembled in great numbers, " armed with sea-scythes, forks, 
bludgeons, and fire-arms ; in consequence of the fewness in 
number of the revenue officers, it was deemed prudent to 

Many stories are told of how in the last century, whenever 
a strange vessel was observed approaching the shore, false lights 
were displayed with the hope of alluring it to destruction ; similar 
tales, however, are recounted relative to almost every rock-bound 
coast of the United Kingdom; but whatever may be the truth 
of these legends, there can be little doubt of the inhabitants of 
the littoral for many long years having been addicted to syste- 
matic smuggling, while various localities are still pointed out 
where the revenue officers had made large seizures ; as a rule, 
however, this illicit trade was successful. One very old man 
recounts that about 70 years ago, when he was a young lad, he 
one night met thirty men, carrying each a load of tobacco :' 
they were all armed and prepared to resist the revenue officers, 
if opposed. 

Several people in a seemingly respectable sphere of life, lived 


principally by this secret traffic, which was then carried on in a 
business-like and wholesale manner. 

A very daring and successful smuggler was captain of a very 
fast cutter, which had been repeatedly chased, but had always 
escaped with ease. In 1828 he stole in, under cover of the 
darkness, and dropped anchor off the " Tower Beacon" which 
occupied the site of the present Blackrock Light-house. The 
strange cutter was soon observed by the coast-guard at Eaughly, 
and the alarm by signal immediately given. All the stations in 
Sligo Bay promptly answered and attended the summons. A 
vigilant search was immediately commenced which terminated 
in the illicit traffickers being surprised. They had prepared a 
cave, in which, however, they had not time to deposit the cargo, 
and two of the men engaged in concealing the goods were made 
prisoners ; 222 half bales of tobacco (about six tons weight) were 
secured, and the two boats belonging to the cutter were seized. 
This was the death-knell of smuggling, and it is doubtful if an 
attempt was ever again made to run a large cargo into Sligo, 
although a small contraband traffic lingered on for a few years. 
In June, 1836, some half bales of smuggled tobacco were seized 
part of a cargo which had been successfully landed and a 
week later, three half bales were seized in a cart in the streets of 

Sunday drinking was formerly as at present very preva- 
lent. In 1834 Inglis visited a house, near the lake, to which 
citizens of Sligo resorted on Sundays, and he there tasted a 
favourite beverage called scolteen, composed of whiskey, eggs, 
sugar, butter, caraway- seed, and beer. From about the year 
1839, a considerable falling off took place in the consumption of 
ardent spirits, for it was about this period that Father Mathew 
commenced his crusade against intemperance in Sligo. Thacke- 
ray thus describes him : "A stout, handsome, honest-looking 
man of some two-and-forty years, was passing by, and received 
a number of bows from the crowd around ; it was Theobald 
Mathew, with whose face a thousand little print-shop windows had 
already rendered me familiar. He shook hands with the master 


of the carriage very cordially, and just as cordially with the 
master's coachman, a disciple of temperance, as at least half Ire- 
land is at present." In September, 1840, Father Mathew visited 
Collooney, and vast numbers from all parts of the county were 
present ; it was estimated that he there administered the pledge 
to 10,000 people. The local paper of the day thus alludes to 
him : "To speak of the incalculable benefits produced by his 
exertions is altogether unnecessary ; thousands have been saved 
from penury and disgrace ; thousands too reclaimed from a life 
of profligacy by abstinence from ardent-spirits. . . . An improve- 
ment in the habits of the people in this respect we cannot doubt 
will be accomplished by increased moral restraint and a conse- 
quent decrease of crime and violence." 

In his various addresses to the people in the town of Sligo, 
Father Mathew exhorted them to avoid all political and religious 
disputes, to cultivate a spirit of good will, of Christian charity 
to their neighbours of every persuasion, and to avoid all secret 
societies. There was a moral sublimity deeply impressive in the 
spectacle of so many thousand human beings influenced by one 
man, and on their knees repeating after him the words of the 
temperance pledge. No correct estimate can be formed of the 
numbers who enrolled themselves, but, adds an eye-witness, 
" from all that could be learnt it exceeded sixty thousand." The 
silver medals and temperance-pledge cards distributed by Father 
Mathew when in Sligo are, many of them, still treasured by the 

Father Mathew did more for the social regeneration of the 
country than any other man ; several attempts have been made 
to resuscitate the movement, but with only partial success. In 
1890, the Mayor and Corporation of Sligo joined, with other 
Irish Municipal bodies, in the arrangements for commemorating 
the centenary of this remarkable man. 

The County Sligo with an estimated population of about 
98,338 souls, has a total of 310 publichouses ; this is exceeded 
by the Borough, which, with a total of a little over 10,000, has 
85, a number yearly on the increase. The cause is obvious, for 
the power of granting or refusing a licence lies entirely in the 


hands of the local magistrates, who can by their vote, at Licensing 
Sessions, prevent the increase. Evidence of the respectability 
and good character of the applicant, however, has in general 
more influence with the presiding justices than the important 
question of supply and demand, and unless the applicant be a 
person notoriously unfit to conduct a public-house, he has, almost 
invariably, the support of the magistrates of the district who 
know him. 

The whiskey sold on country race-courses is, in general, a 
concoction which only lasts for the day. A countryman over- 
taken by one of these itinerant publicans on his return from the 
course was offered by his friend the remains of a jar of whiskey, 
which was refused with a shake of the head. Oh, then, replied 
the trader, I may as well pour it out, it won't keep till morning. 

In Sligo, the inns were probably neither better nor worse than 
the usual average of provincial towns. They, like most places 
of business, were distinguished by huge signboards, which 
competed with each other in gaudiness of colouring. In 1750 
" Barrington's Hotel " was in existence ; it stood on or about 
the site of the present " Lough Gill Brewery." " The Black 
Lion " was in Pound-street ; the signboard is still in existence 
(see fig. 46), but fast mouldering in the damp and wet; the 
jet black of the lord of the forest is now rusty brown, his gold 
collar has almost vanished ; in a few months the last of one of the 
oldest hostelries in the town will be but a memory. Here it was 
that most of the subscription balls were given, bowls and cock- 
fighting were great attractions, and the last " main " advertised 
and fought in public took place in the backyard. In this inn 
Major Hillas slept the night before the duel in which he fell, 
and it is yet recounted how in the morning he declared that he 
was a doomed man, for he dreamed that he had seen a large 
funeral passing the inn, and he recognized the gentry of the 
county, and his own relations in mourning following the hearse. 
Close to this inn was situated the " Spinning Wheel," in High- 
street ; also the " York Hotel/' the scene of many a race and 
regatta ball ; the " King's Arms " and " Bosses Hotel," in old 


Market-street ; the " Masonic Tavern " in Gaol-street ; " Mason's 
Hotel" on the Mall; whilst the "Nelson Hotel" still exists 
under the title of the " Imperial," and the " Hibernian Hotel " 
is now the " Victoria " ; the two last may be viewed as exempli- 
fications of the survival of the fittest. 

Let not the reader imagine that the inns in question resembled 
those at present in existence ; they had ricketty unwashed floors, 
staircases, chairs, and furniture laden with a coating of grimy, 
greasy dust, and broken-windows mended with paper. They 
provided a regimen of bacon and eggs, varied perhaps by eggs and 
bacon, on rare occasions a chicken, or perhaps a joint, if such 
could be at the time procured. 

The best known inns in the county that can date as far 
back as 1757 were " The Strand House Inn " at Beltra, near 
Tanrego ; " The Half-way House " on the road to Ballyshannon ; 
and also that at Ballinafad. These are marked on an itinerary. 
One inn bore the announcement of " Interment " instead of 
" Entertainment " for man and beast. 

The Rev. John Wesley described in his Journal the great 
discomfort of the ordinary Irish cabin of the year 1748, for no 
light could come into the earth and straw-built " cavern " on 
the master and his cattle but at one hole which served as window, 
chimney, and door ; indeed, of all the features of Irish peasant 
life, none helped more to associate in the mind of a stranger the 
idea of misery with the idea of Ireland than the dirt and dis- 
order of home life. The manure heap .at the door ; filth ankle- 
deep at the entrance ; the pig domiciled in the house ; ducks, 
geese, and fowl roosting on the rafters ; the grunting of pigs, 
the quacking of ducks, the hissing of geese, the cackle of fowl, 
and the squalling of children can be more readily imagined 
than described. The cost of one of these hovels was estimated 
at from 80s. to 40-s., but if covered with straw, and with walls of 
stone, the cost would be 5 ; if there were outbuildings in 
addition, the total would be about double that sum. In 1770 
the population of the county was considered to be increasing 
rapidly, the circumstances of the peasantry, in geueral, having 

[To face page 



undoubtedly improved from the year 1748. They were better 
clothed, better fed, and also were more industrious in their 

Near the town the price for labour was at the beginning of 
this century tenpence or one shilling per diem, without food 
except perhaps at harvest time ; cottiers in general were allowed 
sixpence the long day, and fivepence the short day, the wages, 
from 1776, having risen but Id. per diem. According to the 
quality of the land, they paid for it different prices. For three 
pounds they generally received an acre of land, grass for a cow, 
together with a cabin and right of turbary. Those who were 
not cottiers, and were only occasionally employed, as in harvest 
time, or times of extreme pressure, got eightpence with break- 
fast and dinner, and in winter sixpence per day. In public 
works, such as making roads, &c., or labour on the quays, the 
common hire was Is. Id. per day. 

Immediately after the Continental war, prices fell more than 
one-half, which occasioned great distress amongst the agricultu- 
ral population. For instance, barley, which in 1815 sold foi- 
ls. Sd. per stone, fell to 8d. in the following year. A contem- 
poraneous observer in the County Sligo, alluding to this period of 
depression, stated that the " golden age" ceased with the war, and 
peace, which at other times and in other countries was esteemed 
one of the greatest blessings, came to be considered by the 
people the greatest evil that could befal them, and it made them 
wish for another fierce and protracted contest. Stock of all 
kinds fell one-third at least in price, and pigs one-half ; potatoes 
and oats lost about the same proportion of their value, as well as 
oatmeal, on which articles depended the payment of their rents 
and the support of their families. 

The early marriages of the lower class of the inhabi- 
tants caused great increase of their numbers. The young 
women were generally married between the ages of fifteen and 
twenty, and the men from twenty and upwards. The portion 
usually given with girls was from 10 to 50, the young men 
having generally small holdings of land to begiu th world 

z 2 


with. These marriages were contracted, in most instances, 
without any regard to affection or any of the finer feelings, 
but were arranged between the friends of the young people 
from prudential considerations. 

At the commencement of this century the pillion was in 
common use. It varied much in style, from the straw suggaun 
with straw rope, to the blue-cloth hair-stuffed cushion (provided 
with a leathern belt) for the well-to-do class. When going to a 
marriage the men generally rode on horseback, each having 
behind him a woman seated on a pillion ; the bride was 
mounted behind the " best man ; " the bridegroom, however, 
rode alone. The old world- wide relic of barbarism the pursuit 
and capture of the bride was still in existence ; the latter 
sometimes pretended to run away, pursued by the bridegroom ; 
and even yet the bridal party usually set out for a long drive, 
the bride and bridegroom, bridesmaid and " best man," being 
on the first car, the guests following in an order which usually 
depends upon the respective merits and speed of their horses. 
This drive is sometimes called " dragging home the bride." 
Sometimes the term is applied to the drive from her parent's 
house to that of her husband. The proceedings generally con- 
clude with a dance, which is kept up until the greater number 
of the guests are stretched upon the floor, through the combined 
effects of fatigue and other causes. 

The following is a contemporaneous description of the 
everyday routine-life of a parish priest in the county, at the 
commencement of this century : " He was almost everyday on 
horseback, either attending occasional duties, or holding confes- 
sional stations. This last, which was a very serious and 
weighty part of his duty, occupied nearly six months in the 
year, Easter and Christmas being the two seasons appointed for 
this purpose. It would be difficult to bring 1000 families 
to attend the priest at his residence twice in the year ; he was 
therefore, obliged to attend the people at their several places of 
abode. The matter was managed thus : when he had deter- 
mined on the time for commencing this part of his duty, he 



announced on a Sunday from the altar at what village or town- 
land he intended holding his station during each day of that 
week, and at whose house he intended to remain on each of 
those days, so that all the people living within that district 
might be prepared to come to confession. He should repair to 
the place in the morning, fasting, as he must celebrate Mass 
before any other business took place. That being finished, a 
good breakfast of tea, eggs, bread and butter, together with a 
bottle of whiskey, was provided. The confessions then com- 
menced, and continued till three or four o'clock, when dinner 
was provided, which generally consisted of fowls and butcher's 
meat, with oaten-bread and butter. Many of the decent neigh- 
bours were invited." 

When Sunday arrived some of the people asked him to 
dine, and if a baptism or marriage occurred, the best fare which 
the country could produce was provided for the priest and the 
select guests. In this routine his time passed, and indeed a 
very laborious time it was from the numbers necessary to be 
attended to, the distances to ride, and the bad roads through 
the interior and mountainous parts. 

The food and general well-being of the great bulk of the 
peasantry and of the labouring classes have been on the whole 
steadily progressive. The famine of 1846-8 checked the great 
increase of population, which otherwise could not, in course of 
time, have been sustained by the land ; and the descendants of 
thousands whose staple food had been confined to potatoes now 
use flour, tea, and numerous other articles of diet unknown to 
the rustic larder half a century previously. 

The use of shoes and stockings is now general, as also the 
comfort of sleeping between blankets instead of in a pile of 
straw ; the improvement, too, in the manner of living, has 
become general, and has extended more or less to all parts of 
the county. 

With what wool the farmers had of their own, which could 
be supplemented by more bought in the market, the industrious 
housewife spun and made frieze for the clothing of the men, 


and drugget for self and daughters ; with the assistance of 
these latter she made, every year, as much linen as would serve 
all the purposes of the family. The clothing of the peasantry 
was thus supplied by their own manufacture ; but as fathers of 
families never could imagine a suit to be complete, or themselves 
decently dressed, without a great coat of thick frieze, which 
they wore in all seasons and weathers, this increased the 
expense considerably. Many of the young men and trades- 
people wore red or striped waistcoats of finer quality, and the 
hats were also all of native fabrication. 

The women at home were dressed in flannels and druggets 
manufactured by themselves ; but on gala days, or Sundays, or 
at weddings and dances, they wore red cloaks, striped linen or 
cotton gowns, white caps and handkerchiefs, with petticoats of 
green or red stuff. As a rule, the feet remained unshod, except 
on state occasions, when coarse shoes, commonly known by the 
name of "brogues," were worn. These had thick soles, and 
were sewed with leathern thongs, not with ordinary waxed 
thread. " On a Sunday," writes Lady Morgan, in her Patriotic 
Sketches, " the young women go in groups to the Mass-house, 
generally dressed in white gowns and coloured petticoats ; with 
their rug cloaks hanging on one arm, and their shoes and 
stockings on the other. When they approach the chapel they 
bathe their feet in the first stream, and assume those articles of 
luxury which are never drawn on but for show and the public 
gaze of the parish." 

Inglis, an observant traveller, was greatly struck by the 
superiority in appearance of the Sligo population over that of 
the neighbouring western counties. He says that (in 1833) he 
saw hardly any rags or tatters as elsewhere ; nearly all were 
shod, and the amount of clean linen displayed surprised him. 

In the last century a Dispensary in the town of Sligo was 
entirely supported by voluntary contributions, supplemented by 
collections at charity sermons preached in all Houses of Public 
Worship. Though by 3rd Geo. IV., c. 21 (1823), grand juries 
were empowered to present sums equal to private subscriptions 


for the support of dispensaries, medicines, &o., there must have 
been some prior Act, for in 1806 83 was voted " to the Trea- 
surer of the Sligo Dispensary for the support thereof ; " in 1817 
there was a presentment for the Coolany Dispensary ; in 1818 
for one at Ballymote ; in 1823 for one at Grange ; in 1824 for 
those at Dromore West and Riverstown ; and subsequently for 
Castleconor, Kilglass, &c. districts being thus progressively 
subdivided as the increased need of medical care became appa- 
rent. The duties of Dispensary doctors, in an extensive rural 
district, when properly and conscientiously carried out, are 
arduous and onerous. 

Various accounts are given of magic crystals, and rounded 
or globular stones, kept in certain families and believed to be 
cures for maladies afflicting both man and beast. These 
charms were simply placed in the fluid given to the patient to 
drink, and into which they were supposed to exude some healing 
virtue. " If we are inclined to laugh at the simple people who 
believed in those marvellous cures," remarks P. W. Joyce, " let 
us not forget that they are in no degree more credulous than 
myriads of our own day, who are caught by quack advertise- 
ments, and who believe in cures quite as wonderful as those 
performed by Itiancecht." This " fairy doctor " at once cured 
the wounded warriors of the Tuatha de Danaan, at the battle 
of Moytirra in Sligo, by plunging them into a medicated bath. 
There are still according to W. B. Yeats in Fairy and Folk 
Tales " fairy doctors " in the county, " really well up in 
herbal medicine by all accounts." 

Domestic industries were carried on, in the evening, under 
difficulties ; there was little light but that afforded by the 
fire, for the candle of former times the rush-light was 
but seldom lighted. Ber anger thus describes its use, circa 
1779: "We went to supper; we had the old Irish candles, 
consisting of rushes dipped in tallow, which gave but poor 
light. The candlestick consists of a straight piece of wood 
about two feet high, with three feet to stand on the floor ; on 
the top is an iron spring, which holds the rush, and which, 



when put on the table, was too high, and gave hardly light 
enough to see our victuals ; but we got some children at our 
elbows to hold a candle to each of us, at a proper height to 
light our plates. The inhabitants have them on the ground 
and sit round them on low stools or stones." 

Rush-light holders were sometimes formed all of iron, 
except the base, which was usually of wood ; others were all of 
A wood, with the exception of the iron arm and 

socket (see fig. 47) for holding the light. The 
holders varied, also, considerably in length, one 
class being made for resting on the floor, whilst 
others were intended to stand on a table. In 
iron examples the more usual attempt at orna- 
mentation was by giving to the stem a spiral 
curve, and by decorating the base. With regard 
to the system adopted for holding the rush- 
light, there was considerable variety, but the most 
general was a simple counterpoised pincers, coun- 
terbalanced, the weight of the socket arm being 
sufficient to close the pincers, and so hold the 
rush ; another kind held the light with pincers 
FIG. 47 closed by a spring. In the best specimens the 

Rush-light Holder. . J * f 

height of the light was regulated by a sliding 
bar, which moved up and down the stem. 

For the preparation of the rushes the longest, thickest, and 
best were gathered and peeled, with the exception of a narrow 
strip of the exterior coating, which was left on to strengthen 
the rush, its inside pith being very soft. The ends were cut off, 
and the rushes thus prepared were dipped into a vessel con- 
taining melted fat; this vessel was generally a grisset, i.e. a 
long boat-shaped iron utensil suitable for the operation ; the 
rushes, when sufficiently grease-enveloped, were spread out to 
dry and harden. Paraffin oil and lamps have proved the death- 
blow of these ancient light- givers ; many people, however, can 
still remember them, and also the tinder-box and manufacture 
of tinder, which was one of the essential accomplishments of a 
good housekeeper. Tinder was made of linen rags, burned in 



a close vessel and thoroughly charred, but without being allowed 
to blaze. Afterwards it had to be ignited by striking flint and 
steel over it; and the candle, being then lighted, the cover 
was dropped over the tinder to extinguish it. How toilsome 
and lengthy is the process can easily be proved by essaying the 
operation with an old tinder-box. 

The creepy r , or three-legged stool, evidently the most primi- 
tive and ancient form of seat, still retains its appropriate place 
in the mud cabin. The accompanying illustration (fig. 48) 
represents an ancient oak chair, seen in the village of Drum- 
cliff by the antiquary Petrie in the year 1829. It is an expan- 
sion of the three-legged stool into the easy arm chair, retaining 
the simplicity of the former together with much of the con- 
venience of the latter ; it was steady and well adapted to its 
requirements. This relic of antiquity was afterwards used as 
firing during a severe winter, its owner regarding it as a 
useless and antiquated piece of furniture. 

FIG. 48. Ancient Three-legged Arm Chair. 

FIG. 49. Four-handled Madder. 

Beranger, in 1779, described and made a drawing of a well- 
finished four-handled madder. The accompanying illustration 
(see fig. 49) of this quaint drinking-vessel is reproduced from 
The Journal R. H. A. A. I. " The angles, being rounded and 
hollowed out in the inside, serve to drink out of : there is a 
different ornament near (between) each handle ; so that four 
people drinking together, every one may know his own corner." 
These vessels were usually made of yew, with two sometimes, 
as in this instance, with four handles, and some without 


any. 1 In the poem of O'Bourk's Noble Feast this species of 
drinking cup is thus alluded to : 

Usquebaugh to our feast, in pails was brought up ; 
A hundred at least, and a madder our cup. 

If a person died out of doors, whether naturally, acciden- 
tally, or by violence, every person who passed by threw a stone 
on the spot until a large heap would be thus raised up. As 
soon as the breath had departed from a sick person, his bed was 
carried out of the house to any high ground in the immediate 
vicinity, and there set on fire, whilst the air resounded with the 
lamentations and cries of the relatives of the deceased, who 
employed this means of notifying the death to the neighbour- 
hood an invitation, in fact, to the consequent wake and 
funeral. Until recently the " Irish howl " was very prevalent ; 
and, if any person was observed approaching, the cry became 
still louder ; and, when the funeral was passing through a 
village, or even near a house, the howl was raised to its full 
pitch, and was generally contributed by the voices of a large 
assemblage of females, who, notwithstanding the doleful and 
melancholy cries uttered by them, were probably totally uncon- 
cerned about the deceased, and never sullied their cheeks with 
a tear of genuine grief. 

" But a few days back," writes Lady Morgan, in 1807, " a musical 
professor, from whom I had the anecdote, was walking in the vicinity 
of Sligo at a very early hour, when a sound, wild, low, and plaintive, 
caught his ear, and, approaching the spot from whence it seemed to 
proceed, he observed an elderly woman leaning over a little paling 
which encircled a cabin. Her hair was dishevelled, her eyes full of 
tears, and her voice broken and inarticulate, respired in the intervals 
of her deep-heaved sobs a melancholy recitative accompanied by these 
simple words : * A few days are gone by ; she entered this gate in all 
her beauty and her health ; to-morrow she will pass it without life, 
and she never will enter it more.' This funereal song was the 
impromptu requiem of a wretched mother, whose only daughter, a 
young and lovely girl, had expired the night before." 2 

1 There is a townland in the Parish of Kilfree, styled Rathmadder, i.e. 
the Fort of the Madder. 

2 Another poor woman describing the peaceful end of her daughter 
said " she stole away like the mist up the mountain side." 


This "keening" or " Irish cry "the " coronach" of 
Scotland is described by Giraldus Cambrensis. The Greeks, 
Romans, Jews, and Asiatics had " mourning " or " keening " 
women at their funerals an additional link in the train of 
evidence of the early colonization of Ireland from the 

It was supposed that the best proof of the esteem in which 
a man had been held was indicated by the number following 
the funeral ; and the greatest care was taken to have the remains 
numerously attended ; neglect so to do was considered a breach 
of respect to the memory of the deceased ; therefore, when any 
person died in a village, all work was totally suspended until 
after the interment, the intermediate space of time being usually 
employed in visiting the house where the corpse was lying, 
smoking tobacco, drinking, &c. The priests now strive to 
put a stop to some of these practices ; and reason and good 
sense, aided by the influence which the Roman Catholic clergy 
possess over the minds of the majority of the people, are 
gradually producing the desired effect. 

Wakes, although now considered to be essentially Irish, 
would seem (judging by the name) to have been of English 
origin, or, at least, to have been a Saxon appellation for an 
Irish custom. " Wake " is a word equivalent to the ecclesias- 
tical term " vigil " ; and in olden times it signified in England 
the day kept in every country parish in commemoration of the 
dedication of the church ; and it was made an occasion of whole- 
sale revelry. A declaration of Charles I. (1633) recites " that 
under pretence of taking away abuses, there hath been a general 
forbidding not only of ordinary meetings, but of the feasts of 
the dedication of the churches, commonly called wakes." In 
England, however, the observance gradually died out ; but the 
holding of wakes (i.e. vigils for the dead) is practised amongst 
a certain class in Ireland, and may now be considered as almost 
peculiar to this country. 

The custom of watching by the corpse until consigned to 
the earth seems to have originated from an old superstition, 
that, if not so guarded, an evil spirit might carry off the body. 


To provide against such an alarming occurrence, the corpse was 
laid out, and lighted candles placed around it; friends and 
neighbours flock in, and spend the entire night eating, drink- 
ing, and smoking so that a person unacquainted with the 
custom would be led to believe that they were assembled to 
commemorate some joyful event. At the wakes certain sports or 
games were in use, particularly mock marriage ceremonies by a 
mock priest; also other rites such as "the making of the 
ship," &c., &c. which appear to have been essentially of pagan 
origin, and most certainly of such a character that they were 
necessarily suppressed by the clergy. There was likewise the 
game of "the trial," in which the entire practice of a court 
of law was gone through ; " the crow," sometimes styled 
"the hen"; "the seven daughters"; "Father O'Dowd"; 
and other minor amusements somewhat similar to " hunt the 
slipper," sometimes called "the bat" ; "kiss in the ring," and 
" forfeits." 

Not many years ago it was no uncommon sight to see a race 
between funeral processions, if two or more corpses happened to 
be on their way to the graveyard at the same time. It 
is believed that the last person interred was bound to attend 
upon all who had been buried in the same locality, and 
must while they were enduring purgatorial torments supply 
them with water until relieved in their task by a later 

In the early part of this century there resided on the mail- 
coach road, not far from Sligo, a " buckle-beggar " (so called) 
who plied the same profitable trade as the Scottish Blacksmith. 
He was a Presbyterian clergyman who had been degraded for 
misconduct, but he was quite willing to read the marriage 
ceremony over any runaway couple for a slight remunera- 

He was tried on several occasions at the Sligo Assizes, but 
was acquitted, as he appears to have evaded the penalties of the 
statute by reading the marriage service from behind a screen. 
From this position he could see the happy couple, but to them 


he was invisible, and the fee being handed to him by his assis- 
tant in front, he signed the necessary certificate. There was 
no witness to prove that it was he who had read the service ; 
at any rate a Sligo jury came to that conclusion. He was, 
however, finally brought within the meshes of the law ; was 
tried and pleaded guilty to the offence. These semi-legal 
marriages were put an end to by the Marriage Act. 



N almost all the countries of Europe," remarks 
P. W Joyce, " hidden treasure is popularly be- 
lieved to be guarded by supernatural beings ; 
and to circumvent them by cunning, or by some 
more questionable agency, is the grand study of 
money-seekers." The superstition is of ancient origin, 
for in a MS., reputed to be of the eleventh century, the 
Wars of the Irish with the Danes, the writer laments that the spells 
employed by the fairies to conceal their treasures were of no avail 
against the pagan magic of the northern invaders. The peasantry 
believe that crocks full of gold lie buried in the raths and 
" giants' graves." If you dream three times in succession that 
the gold is in a certain locality, you should there excavate ; but 
the work must be carried on at night ; and when you go in the 
morning to inspect your treasure, lo ! it is withered leaves, or 
poor mouldering bones. The only way to elude the spell 
of the " good people " is, before commencing operations, to 
sacrifice a black cat or a black cock opinions are divided 
as to which is the most efficacious on the site of the proposed 
exploration ; and the gold, if found, retains its true charac- 

Two seekers after hidden treasure had taken all requisite 
precautions, and had procured a black cat, which was securely 
enclosed in a sack. The gold was discovered, but in the excite- 
ment caused by the find, the animal escaped when being taken 
out of the bag. It is needless to add that in the morning 
nothing but withered leaves could be seen. 

Money buried under a fairy bush increases. As a general 


rule, however, if anyone digs into or levels a fort or rath, mis- 
fortune is sure to follow; trouble after trouble ensues; cows 
and horses die ; crops fail. Lucky indeed he may esteem him- 
self if he escapes death in some dreadful form, or that his 
wife and children are not afflicted either bodily or mentally. 
Solitary thorn-bushes are sacred from the hatchet ; under them 
the fairies dance. In short, the "good people" are every- 
where : 

" By the craggy hill-side, 

Through the mosses bare, 
They have planted thorn-trees 

For pleasure here and there. 
Is any man so daring, 

As dig them up in spite, 
He shall find their sharpest thorn 

In his hed at night." 

Some of the peasantry could not bfe induced even to cut 
weeds growing on the forts in order to prevent seeding. One 
man who had been so daring as to uproot some hawthorn 
bushes in one of these fairy circles was found next morning 
quite paralyzed in his bed. Sometimes the fairies visibly 
protect their property. Thus, a sacrilegious farmer, bent on 
clearing a portion of the precincts of a large fort from a well- 
developed growth of brushwood, when proceeding to cut down 
a bush, was politely begged by a mannikin to spare it, and to 
try the next. At the next bush he was encountered by another 
pigmy, who repeated the same request. He was thus sent from 
bush to bush, and the next morning was found wandering about 
the fort quite distraught. 

It is not well for either " man or beast " to stray far into 
the underground passages of raths. Any cavern, be it ever so 
small, is fabled to extend an immense distance into the bowels 
of the earth. Beranger thus describes one legend : " This 
cavern (of Kesh) is said to communicate with one in the County 
Eoscommon, twenty- four miles in distance, called the ' Hell- 
mouth ' door of Ireland, of which is told (and believed in both 
counties) that a woman in the county of Eoscommon having an 
unruly calf could never get him home unless by holding him 


by the tail ; that one day he tried to escape, and dragged the 
woman against her will into the l Hell-mouth ' door ; that, 
unable to stop him, she ran after him without quitting her hold, 
and continued running until next morning she came out at 
Keshcorran, to her own amazement and that of the neighbour- 
ing people. We believed it rather than try it." 

In remote parts of the county it is believed that the fairies 
change children in the cradle ; and if an infant commences to 
pine or become peevish, it is a sure sign that an exchange has 
been effected. Detailed narratives of the "removal" of chil- 
dren, and even of grown people, by the " gentle folk," are not 
uncommon. It is stated that the custom still exists in some 
places of sprinkling the doorstep of the cabin with the blood of 
a chicken when the death of a very young child occurs. 

The church 1 and burial-ground at Kilross were reputed to 
have been formerly situated on the opposite side of the rivulet 
which flows near them. One night, in council assembled, the 
occupants of the graveyard came to the conclusion that they 
were too tightly packed, and next morning church and church- 
yard were found transported to their present position. The two 
wells, however, which were in the old burying-ground remained 
in their original position, and two large rocks one of them 
sculptured, and called the "holy- water stone" mark the site 
of these " fonts." 

Members of the seaside population display great reluctance 
to proceed to the rescue of a drowning person. This superstition 

1 The western end of the old church is still standing evidently portion 
of the vaulted dwelling-place of the monks. A few fragments of cut-stone, 
such as arch-stones of doors and windows, may be seen scattered around. 
"Clarus M'Moylin O'Moillchoury, Archdeacon of Elphin, founded the 
church of the Holy Trinity, at Kilruisse in \ 233, for canons of the Order of 
Praemonstre, and made it a cell to the Abbey of Lough Kee ; the founder 
died A.D. 1251." The other establishment was probably at Killeran, near 
Toberdoney, in the townland of Ballydawley, now represented by a diminu- 
tive unused graveyard ; in it there is one large headstone, stated to mark 
the grave of " the Bishop." No trace of lettering remains. 


is well brought out by Sir Walter Scott in his novel of " The 
Pirate." The old Cornish belief that 

" Save a stranger from the sea, 
And he'll turn, your enemy," 

might, not many years ago, have been supposed of universal 
application along the western littoral. 

In A. D. 887 a dead mermaid was said to have been cast 
ashore, and details are given of her dimensions, which almost 
rival those of the sea-serpent of this nineteenth century ; whilst in 
the Annals of Loch Ce it is recounted that two mermaids were 
caught by fishermen in the year 1118. Sligo is not without 
its legend of a "Merrow," which answers to the English 
"Mermaid"; and the idea entertained by the peasantry in 
various localities that some of the megalithic circles were 
human, or other living beings metamorphosed by magic 
was a very prevalent belief. Crofton Croker recounts one such 
in his Killarney Legends; another is told by Mr. Hibbert in his 
Description of the Shetland Isles ; and in the townland of Scur- 
more, parish of Castleconor, county of Sligo, there is a locality 
bearing the singular title " Children of the Mermaid." This 
designation appears to be specially applied to some large 
boulders, seven in number, situated on the N.E. periphery of a 
circular rampart, surrounding a fine specimen of a tumulus. 

Some of the fishermen really believe in the existence of 
mermaids. A man declared he had seen one on the rocks 
combing her hair. On his approach she took a header into the 

The following was recounted by a countryman, a native of 
Kilross : Long ago, before the monks had a church at Kil- 
leran, there lived there a celebrated magician who possessed a 
cow that brought wealth and prosperity to her owner. One of 
his neighbours determined to steal it, and, with the assistance 
of his son, succeeded in securing and driving it off, with the 
object of concealing it. The magician soon discovered his loss, 
pursued, and, at the foot of the mountain, overtook the thieves. 
In his hand he bore his wand, and, overcome with passion, 

2 A 


struck the cow and the thieves with it, thereby metamorphosing 
them into stone. In the centre stands the thief (represented by 
a pillar-stone more than six feet high by two broad) ; near him 
is the boy, of lesser proportions (three feet six inches) ; lying 
prostrate is another slab which represents the cow. 

On the mountain overlooking the scene of this catastrophe 
lived a giantess named Veragh. She was so tall that she could 
easily wade the rivers and lakes in Ireland. One day, how- 
ever, when trying to cross Loch-da-ghedhj it proved to be 
beyond her depth, and she was drowned ; but her house on the 
mountain still remains, and is styled Calliagh-a- Veragh. 1 This 
lake has the reputation of being the deepest in the County 
Sligo. One countryman stated that there is an underground 
outlet from it ; and if anything were thrown into it "it would 
come out at the bridge of Denmark !" Another recounted 
that it was once essayed to drain it for the purpose of recover- 
ing the treasure at the bottom, which was guarded by a huge 
monster; but when the workmen commenced operations they 
imagined they saw their homesteads on the plain all in flames, 
and, going down to extinguish them, found it was the " good 
people " who had deceived them. When they returned to 
their work the trench they had made to draw off the water 
was filled up. 

The holy wells in the county (although many of them in a 
greater or less degree have now lost their sacred character) are 
still numerous. In the parish of Ahamlish, St. Bridget's and 
St. Molaise's wells, and those in the island of Inismurray, have 
been already described, but it may be interesting to quote a 
reference made by Beranger at the close of the last century, to 
Tobernacoragh, or " The well of assistance." He states that the 
inhabitants of Inismurray, "all Eoman Catholicks, seem very 
innocent, good natured, and devout, but at the same time very 

i Calliagh~a- Veragh is the denuded cist of a earn. Cams on the summits 
of mountains were erected by the people at the time of the flood, to try and 
escape the rise of the waters ; such is their origin, according to the ideas of 
some of the peasantry. 


superstitious and credulous. They told us, as a most undoubted 
fact, that during the most horrid tempests of winter, when a 
case happens where a priest is required, such as to give the 
Extreme Unction to a dying person, &c, they go to the sea side, 
launch one of their little vessels, and as soon as it touches the 
water, a perfect calm succeeds, which continues until they have 
brought the priest to the island, that he has performed the rites 
of the Church, that they have carried him back, and that the 
boat is returned to the island and hauled on shore, when the 
tempest will again begin, and continue for weeks together. On 
asking them how often this miracle happened, and to which of 
them the care of the priest had been committed, they were vera- 
cious enough to confess it never happened in their days, though 
the fact was true." 

FIG. 50." The Well of Assistance." 

The following were esteemed sacred springs in the parish of 
Drumcliff : Tobar na bachaille, or the well of the crozier ; Tobar 
muire, Mary's- well. On Lady Day there are, it is stated, stations 
still carried on there ; the well was reputed to have been the 
home of sacred trout, and to have possessed healing virtues, 
particularly in cases of ophthalmia ; St. Patrick's- well, where a 
legend recounts that the saint baptized converts : there are also 
the wells of Tobar na bolgoighe, Tobervogue, and Tober Columb- 
Idll. In the footnote is given a list of wells which had been 
formerly held in estimation as " holy." 1 

1 In the parish of Kilmacowen, Toberpatrick ; parish of Calry, Tober- 
Connel; parish of Ballysadare, Tobercurrin, Tobertullaghan, and Tobercallen ; 
parish of Killoran, Tobergal ; parish of Achoury, Toberaribba, Tobercurry, 

2 A 2 


As a rule holy wells were resorted to either for the purpose 
of prayer or to perform certain penances, whether voluntary or 
imposed ; and Burton's celebrated picture of The Blind Girl at 
the Holy Well, is an interesting reminder of the faith formerly 
entertained by the peasantry in the efficacy of prayer at these 
fountains. When celebrating the festival of the Patron Saint, 
there was usually a large assemblage of people, together with 
tents, pipers, fiddlers, and plenty of whiskey. " St. James's-well 
in Greevagh," was, in the early part of this century, " a spot 
notorious for many a riotous scene." This was the locality from 
which most of the disturbances in the county emanated. 

In consequence of the excesses of all kinds to which these 
meetings led, the Koman Catholic priests set their faces against 
the custom, but for a length of time in vain ; the change in the 
state of society, however, joined to their influence have gradually 
caused these assemblies to be now almost a thing of the past. 
But many of the wells are more frequented by devotees than 
casual observers would imagine, and the veneration of wells yet 

Toberaraght and Tobercully ; parish of Dromard, Toberpatrick ; parish of 
Skreen, Toberpatrick, Toberawnaun, and Toberloran ; parish of Easky, St. 
Adman's well, Toberavidden and Toberalternan ; parish of Templeboy, 
Toberpatrick, Tobernasool, and Tobercahillboght ; parish of Kilglass, St. 
Patrick's well ; parish of Castleconor, Toberpatrick ; parish of Ballysadare, 
Toberloonagh and Toberbride ; parish of Ballynakill, Lady's- weU, and Darby's 
well; the latter was anciently styled, Toberlastra or Toberlastrach ; parish of 
Kilmactranny, Tobermurry ; parish of Kilmacallan, Tobermoneen, and 
Tobernaglashy, so named from an enchanted cow which used to regale her- 
self at the spring ; parish of Aghanagh, Tobermania, Toberbride, Tober- 
murry, Toberpatrick and Tobermahon ; parish of Tawnagh, Toberpatrick, 
Tobernalee, Kingsbrook, Toberstarling, and Tobernagalliagh ; parish of Shan- 
cough, St. James's-well, parish of Drumcolumb, St. Columb's-well; parish of 
Kilross, Toberdoney, beautifully situated, still used for cures and frequented 
on St. Peter and St. Paul's Day; parish of Emlaghfad, Holy well; parish 
of Toomour, Tobernacarta, Tobernamalla, Toberliubhan, Toberacol, Tober- 
cloicliarig or King's- well ; parish of Kilturra, St. Araght's-well and Tober- 
patrick ; parish of Drumrat, Toberbride or Tobernanavin, and Toberbarry ; 
parish of Cloonaghill, Toberneerin ; parish of Kilfree, Tobernabraher and 
Tobernaneagh ; parish of Killaraght, Toberpatrick. 

In the parish of Kilmactranny, there was anciently (according to the 


This can be observed at places where least expected ; for 
instance, about one hundred yards from the little church of 
Kilmacteigue, lies the insignificant well of Tubber-Keeran, 
or St. Keeran's-well. A small ash tree, overhanging the well, 
is covered with many-coloured rags, mementos of the pious fre- 
quenters of the spot. The well, now nearly filled in with the 
gnarled roots of the tree, is frequented by the country people for 
various purposes, but principally by farmer's wives and daughters 
whose cows are sick, or not producing as much butter as they 
expected. 1 

Not far distant, and in the same parish, is the well of 
Toberaraght, in the townland of Glenawoo. It is still visited 
for the purpose of performing stations, chiefly to seek resto- 
ration to health from diseases of peculiar character, such as 
epilepsy, &c. The tradition is, that the valley in which the 
well is situated was the haunt of a monster in the shape of a 
great serpent that devoured or destroyed every human being or 
animal within reach, and hence the name of the Glen. But a 
deliverer arrived in the person of St. Athy or Araght, who 
came from the North of Ireland, bringing a blessed staff 3 given 
to her by St. Patrick, with which she pursued and killed the 
monster on the spot where the well sprang up. In olden days 

Ordnance Survey notes), a well, styled Tobar-Ehilibh or St. Elva's-well, and 
close adjoining the alleged grave of the saint, and the remains of a station 
house. The story, as recounted by one of the country people, was that, in 
days when saints were more numerous than at present, there lived two 
sisters, holy women, called Lasair and Elva. The former first located her- 
self at Derrysallagh, and the latter in the parish of Kilronan in Roscommon. 
Elva observed that her sister was failing in health, and inquired the cause 
of her despondency. Lasair confessed that the loneliness of the place weighed 
on her spirits, upon which Elva changed localities and cells. 

1 Close to this well, are rocks curiously indented with depressions resem- 
bling " bullauns " ; there is a very good specimen built into the fence along 
the road near the old church, and many others are scattered about through 
the fields. 

2 Frequent notices of this staff (the Baculus Jesu] are to be found in 
Irish history. The lives of St. Patrick all speak of this celebrated crozier, 
and a detailed account of its history is given in the Introduction to The 
Books of QUts and Martyrology of Christ Church, Dublin, 1844. 


it was usual to celebrate a great " patron " on the 12th August 
of each year, but it was prohibited by the clergy in consequence 
of the misconduct of some of the visitors. 

The stations of St. Barbara's- well, closely adjoining, were 
generally performed about the same date. On the trees and 
bushes surrounding these wells are the rags, &c., left by those 
who carry with them any of the blessed water. In the same 
parish there is another large spring called Toberoddy, but 
according to a MS. in the Hoyal Irish Academy it is 
said to have lost its efficacy in the year 1755 in the following 
manner: At the well there stood a flagstone bearing an 
inscription, and a gentleman who was erecting a house in the 
neighbourhood utilised it as building material for his new 
residence. This was no sooner completed then it fell, and the 
flagstone was again found in its original position. The house 
was reconstructed, but from that date the country people believed 
that " the power " had left the waters. 

Lady Morgan describes a visit to a holy well in the year 
1807 : When returning on foot to Longford House, which 
was little more than half a mile across a field-path, a partial 
view of a holy well tempted her to a little pilgrimage aside. 
She directed her steps therefore to a glen, terminated by a little 
circular spot. In the centre of this stood a round stone-bath 
which received its tributary waters from the adjoining sacred 
spring. A path was traced round the holy well, as if worn by 
" holy knees," and a small bowl was suspended over it by a 
chain. At some little distance from the bath and well stood a 
simple altar shaded by a spreading oak, from whose trunk was 
hung a wooden crucifix, and on whose branches were thrown the 
votive offerings of those whose " faith had made them whole ;" 
the names of the pious convalescents were carved on its bark. 

A peasant always approaches a holy well on the north side, 
and moves from east to west in imitation of the diurnal motion 
of the sun ; a corpse should be carried to its last resting place, 
a bride approach her husband, and the glass circulate around the 
festive board in the same manner, such being the right or lucky 
way, and the opposite being the wrong or unlucky way. At 


the proper season can still be seen devotees making their tour 
round the well of Tubbernalt 1 which is situated on the shore 
of Lough Grill, not far from the town of Sligo. The spring is 
encircled by a wall of rude masonry, access to it being given by 
a few uneven steps. Against the overhanging alt or cliff is 
built an altar seemingly of modern construction, and below the 
spring there is another. Fragments of cakes, pins, nails, &c., 
may be seen in the well at certain periods. The locality is at 
all times festooned with many coloured rags red, blue, green, 
white, black, and other coloured ribbons tied up to denote a 
finale to the rounds and prayers. This custom may be con- 
sidered universal, as it is found all over Europe and throughout 
parts of Asia, Africa, and even America. 

Veneration of fish is of eastern origin, for it is a well- 
known fact that in certain parts of India, Persia, and China 
there are ponds and tanks attached to temples in which sacred 
fish are preserved and fed by the priests. The Celtic mind is 
essentially eastern in its character, so it is not surprising that 
several holy wells in Sligo contained trout regarded as sacred. 
At present, however, this superstition is believed to be ex- 
tinct, although within the present century a gentleman . of the 
county who caught some of these fish had to run for his life to 
escape from a mob of infuriated peasants. 2 Holy trout were 
alleged to be of peculiar form and colour, one side of the 
body being darker than the other, and this according to a 
tradition attached to several wells was accounted for in the 

1 This spring is reputed to have been dedicated to Saint Columbkille. 
Crowds were in the habit at the accustomed season, of journeying from great 
distances for the " patron," and they camped around the place on the eve 
of the celebration. The well was overshadowed by a huge ash ; one night 
Providence and a high wind forced the gathering to take shelter elsewhere. 
In the morning the giant tree was found prostrate. 

2 In ancient times one of the greatest indignities, a conqueror could inflict 
upon an Irish chief was the destruction of "holy fish." For example, 
0' Conor, King of Connaught (in the commencement of the llth century), 
wishing to insult his vanquished foe the O'Briens, caught and ate the sacred 
salmon in the well of Kincora. 



following manner : On more than one occasion the progenitors 
of the fish had been removed from the sacred precincts of the well ; 
nevertheless, immediately afterwards, they might be observed, as 
usual, in full enjoyment of their enchanted existence, the darker 
shade on one side being occasioned by marks of the gridiron 
on which they had been placed to be cooked, but they were 
instantaneously transported back into the cool waters from 
whence they had been snatched. 

In pagan days the hazel tree and the salmon seem to have 
been indissolubly connected with certain springs. According to 
'Curry, one of these enchanted wells was situated on the 
Curlew mountains, on a hill designated Cor-sliabh-na-Seaghsa. 

The above writer continues thus : " There were several of 
these poetic springs, or Helicons, in ancient Erin, each sur- 
rounded (it is said) by nine imperishable hazel trees, from 
which showers of ruddy nuts were dropped periodically into the 
spring. These nuts were eagerly watched by the salmon at the 
bottom of the spring, who, when they saw them drop upon the 
surface, darted up and eat them as fast as they could, after 
which they glided into the neighbouring rivers. Those who 
had succeeded in getting the nuts to eat had their bellies all 
spotted with a ruddy spot for every nut they had eaten ; but 
those who got none had no such spots. On this account the 
spotted salmon (which was called the E6 Fis or Salmon of 
Knowledge) became an object of eager acquisition, both with 
the learned and the unlearned ; because when the learned eat 
of it they became (it was supposed) more learned and sublime 
in their poetic aspirations; and when the unlearned had the 
good fortune to catch and eat him they became at once great 

On the altar of Clocha-breacha, on that of Altoir beg, as also 
on the Eastern attoir within the cashel on the island of Inis- 
murray, are numerous globular and curiously- wrought stones. 
Petrie remarked that stones of this class were believed to be 
possessed of miraculous properties for healing sicknesses, and 
were used for swearing on, and also as maledictory stones. 
On this subject W. F. Wakeman writes : " We know that 


a remarkable system of anathematizing their real and supposed 
enemies, at least occasionally, prevailed amongst the people of 
Ireland at a period antecedent to their conversion to Christianity. 
Part of the proceedings consisted in the turning of certain 
stones." The late Sir Samuel Ferguson thus alludes to the 
subject in one of his poems : 

" They loosed their curse against the King, 
They cursed him in his flesh and bones ; 
And ever in the mystic ring / 

They turned the maledictujfe stones." /" 

During ordinary pilgrimages, whether at holy wells or 
altars, the " round " described as being taken is from left to 

FIG. 51. Clocha-breacha, and Cursing Stones. 

right following the course of the sun but when vengeance 
is to be invoked against an enemy the opposite course is adopted. 
The supplicant commences from right to left, turning the stones 
thrice, an imprecation against his enemy being previously, each 
time, uttered ; but if his adversary be innocent, then the impre- 
cations recoil upon the individual uttering them. 

Upon the various altars of Inismurray may be noticed a 
collection of these stones, which have been long held in high 
veneration by the natives of the island. Two stones of this 
class, both of which bear inscriptions as well as crosses, are, it 
is stated, to be seen in the Paris Museum, and they are, it is 
alleged, common in the western isles of Scotland. We learn, 
also, from ancient authorities, that even in ante-Patrician days 


in Ireland, a system of cursing, in which the turning of certain 
stones was part of the formula, prevailed. 

1 Of the many examples remaining on Inismurray only five 
are in any degree decorated. The design which these bear is 
what is usually styled a Greek cross, enclosed by a circle. 
The most ornate of the symbols (see No. 1 of fig. 52) occurs on 
a stone, globular in shape, measuring fifteen and a-half inches 
in diameter, and weighing probably twenty-eight pounds or so. 
This was certainly unfitted for the purposes of a portable altar, 
as suggested by some antiquaries. 

No. 2 represents a stone on Clocha-breacha, which is in the 
form of a globe slightly flattened. The stone measures only 
eleven inches and a-half in diameter. 

No. 3, on the same altar, is in the form of an egg. Its 
greater diameter is ten and a-half inches. 

No. 4 exhibits a plain Greek cross enclosed by a circle, 
the diameter of which is five inches and a-half, the design 
exactly resembling crosses engraved on Coptic and Syrian 
churches of about the fifth century. 

No. 5 is the smallest of the inscribed " swearing " stones 
of Inismurray. It bears punched upon it a Greek cross, the 
arms of which terminate in bifurcations. Within each quad- 
rant is a slight depression or cup. The diameter of the circle 
by which the figure is encompassed is about five inches. 

No. 10 represents an average example of the ordinary plain 
stones which appear on the altars of Inismurray, and also upon 
similar structures distributed over several districts of Ireland, 
principally in the west. They are, in all probability, boulders, 
rounded and smoothed by the action of water, or by friction 
with the sand or gravel of some sea or lake shore. In size 
some are no larger than a walnut, while others, in point of 
dimensions might be compared to a beehive of moderate pro- 

No. 6 is a block of sandstone, the upper portion shaped 
like a cube, while the lower presents the appearance of a shaft 
intended for insertion in some socket. The cube has been 
hollowed to some extent, and was furnished with a covering or 

\_Toface page 362. 



stopper of stone. There is no tradition in connexion with this 
relic ; but as its principal surfaces have been carved with a 
number of very early crosses, it was probably intended to serve 
some purpose in the ancient ritual of St. Molaise's establish- 
ment. The stone is about two feet in length. 

No. 7, a second hollowed stone, furnished with a stopper, 
is as great a puzzle to archaeologists as is its fellow. It 
measures three feet ten inches in circumference. 

There are two other relics upon the altar (see Nos. 8 and 9). 
The former is eight, and the latter six inches in height. 1 

In the townland of Ballysummaghan there were originally 
seven stones styled " the Summaghan stones." These were 
used for the purpose of cursing, and the ceremony appears to 
have closely resembled that observed on Inismurray, though, 
in addition, the postulant was required to go through the per- 
formance barefooted and bareheaded. These stones are said to 
have been cast into the neighbouring lake, yet were found next 
morning in their accustomed place. About two miles distant, 
in Barroe, near Bloomfield, there was a similar set of stones. 
Under the shade of some ash trees is the dried-up site of a holy 
well; for owing to its profanation by unbelievers in its sanctity, 
the waters broke out in another spot. Both here and at Bally- 
summaghan the stones have now disappeared. The two cursing 
sites seem to have been the special heritage of the Summaghan 
family. It is recounted that the last victims were members of 
the sept. The 0' Summaghan missed a firkin of butter, and 
accused one of his neighbours of the larceny, which was stoutly 
denied. O'Summaghan then " performed stations " at Barroe 
and at Ballysummaghan, but with an unexpected result. His 
wife and son both died for it was his wife who, being in debt, 
had, with the aid of her son, abstracted the firkin of butter, 
conveyed it into Sligo, and sold it to pay her bills. One mode 
of averting the curse was for the person against whom " the 
stones were turned " to have a grave dug, to cause himself to 

1 For a detailed account by W. F. Wakeman, of this interesting subject 
see vol. vii., Journal, R. H. A. A. I. 



be laid in it, and to have three shovelfuls of earth cast over 
him, the gravediggers at the same time reciting certain rhymes. 
The last person who essayed this charm prolonged his life, but 
spent it in the Lunatic Asylum mad. 

Lying on the ground in the graveyard of the old church of 
Killery is a thin flagstone, rather less than three feet square ; 
at its south-eastern corner there is a small rectangular stone 
projecting about six inches above the surface of the soil, and 
at all times may be seen around it a piece of string, called 
the " straining string," which is supposed to be an infallible 
cure for strains, pains, and aches. The spot is frequented by 
those who put faith in the efficacy of the ceremony there ob- 
served. The believer repairs, either by self or deputy, to this 

FIG. 53. Straining Stone, &c., Killery. 

flagstone, on which are placed the egg-shaped stones depicted 
in the engraving ; removes from the " straining stone " the old 
string, replacing it by a new one, whilst repeating a Pater and 
Ave and prayer to the patron saint of the church before each 
stone swung round from left to right, as on a pivot is turned 
in succession, being held between the thumb and second finger 
of the supplicant's hand. There are seven stones in all a 
mystic number. The small round bullet-shaped one was but 
lately added, after being dug up when the graveyard was 
cleared and levelled. Six of these stones are such as one would 
expect to find on the sea-beach. The seventh is flatter, and 
somewhat resembles a diminutive quern-stone, having at the 
top a slight artificial depression. These stones are reputed to 
have been removed and thrown into the river to have even 



been broken by unbelievers yet they were always to be found 
next morning, quite uninjured, in their accustomed place. It 
is said that those " straining strings " or " threads " are sent 
for from far distant parts of America, by those who have emi- 
grated from the neighbourhood, and who place more reliance 
on the benefit to be derived from them than on the skill of the 
American doctors. 

The ceremony at Killery may be regarded as the most 
perfect representation of the survival in the County Sligo of the 
semi-Christianization of a pagan custom. 

Lady Wilde, in her Ancient Legends, states that in the 
western Isles a strand of black wool is wound round and round 
the ankles as a charm to cure a sprain, while the operator 
mutters in a low voice a few doggerel lines, winding up with 
" In the name of God and the Saints, of Mary and her Son, let 
this man be healed, Amen." A similar charm was used in 
Germany and many other countries ; in fact, the superstition is 

Amongst the means employed by the Babylonians for 
warding off the attacks of evil spirits during the hours of 
darkness, were (according to Professor Sayce) " magical threads 
twisted seven times round the limbs, and to which phylacteries 
were bound, consisting of sentences from a holy book." 

The altar at Toomour close to the old church shows not 
the slightest vestige of mortar. The altar slab, about two feet 
from the ground, is represented by fig. 54. 
The two strokes or notches at its northern ex- 
tremity are peculiar ; on it rests three flags on 
edge possibly emblematic of the Triune God 
and a natural fragment of rock or fossil, 
somewhat resembling a dumbbell in shape. 

This " dumbbell " closely resembles " the 
healing-stone of St. Conall," described by 
W. H.Patterson in the Journal, R.H.A.A.L, 

7 Altar Slab, Toomour. 

vol. i. (4th series), p. 469. Of it, however, no 

information could be obtained, in fact, the people appeared 

in general unwilling to speak on the subject of the relics on 



any of the altars. Wilde, in his Catalogue of Antiquities, 
notices stones of this description which are preserved at altars, 
holy wells, &c. 

On the ground in front of the altar is a large, irregularly- 
shaped flag- stone, now broken into two fragments ; on it are 
three circular indentations, and three feebly incised Greek 

FIG. 55. Altar and Stones, Toomour. 

crosses. Can they be symbolic of the Trinity ? On the wall 
are seventeen globular stones, which are designated " dicket " 
stones by the peasantry. 

The well of Toberaraght, in the townland of Clogher, parish 
of Kilcolman, in the half barony of Coolavin, lies a few yards 

FIG. 56. Altar and Stones, Toberaraght, Clogher. 

off the public road that leads from Boyle to Ballaghadereen, 
close to the Police Barracks at Clogher. On three sides this 



well is surrounded by a low wall of modern masonry, with a 
flat coping. On the top of the north wall are placed thirteen 
round water- worn pebbles. The number, thirteen, seems re- 
markable : can it have any reference to the apostles, and one 
other ? Who does that mysterious stone represent ? On this 
problem the whole ceremony was probably based. In the restricted 
number of the stones this relic of ancient superstition differs 

FIG. 57. Rude representation of the Crucifixion, Toberaraght. 

from its prototype at Inismurray, where it is alleged that they 
are in such numbers on the altar that they cannot be counted 
each person who has essayed the task differing as to the total. 

On a stone inserted into the north wall there is a rude 
representation of the crucifixion (see figs. 56, 57), the slab being 
about 20 inches in height by 12^ in breadth. The figure of 



our Saviour (in high relief) is about 14 inches in length; the 
head is out of all proportion to the rest of the body, measuring 
5 inches to the end of the beard, the body but 4J inches to the 
termination of the garment. The head is chiefly remarkable for 
the hair, which is represented as falling down on either side in 
long curling masses, the beard also being curled round at the 
end. The body shows the ribs, with a kind of loin-cloth, 
having folds rudely represented ; the legs are small and badly 
carved ; the arms are extended. The cross on which the figure 
is suspended is in relief of about -J-th inch from the face of the 
stone, and is 17 inches long from the top to the moulded base, 
into which the shaft is represented as set, as in the old Irish 
crosses ; the base is 2 inches in height. The shaft of the cross 
is 2 inches wide, and the arms 12 inches across. On the right 
side of the cross there is a spiral carving surmounted with 
a rude representation of a bird probably intended to repre- 
sent a cock. There is also a ladder ; the devices on the other 
side are a hammer, nails, &c. 

Representations of the Crucifixion are relatively so few in 
the County Sligo, that it seems desirable to place this one on 
record, though it certainly possesses no unique feature, and is 
of comparatively recent date, as evidenced by an inscription 
inserted at one side of the figure of the Crucifixion instead of 
over it, i.e. I. H. S. 1662, II. I : Gr : The numeral after the 
date may signify the 2nd year of the restoration, and the initials 
I. Gr. may stand for Iriel O'Gara. 

At the foot of the wall may be seen a hollow in a large 
boulder. The water in this was formerly believed to be a cer- 
tain cure for children who " were long in walking," i. e. who 
were afflicted with the rickets. The patron-day appears to 
have been the llth August. The altar and walls were some 
years ago restored by the nuns of Ballaghadereen. 

The predilection for the number three in grouping holy 
wells requires notice, as does also the custom of forming three 
receptacles for catching the water flowing from the spring. 
Of this the well of Tober Molaise, near the parish church of 
Ahamlish, offers a good example. An overflow from the 


spring fills two other depressions evidently artificial. This 
well is held in great esteem, and stations are even yet held at 
it by persons who have sickness in their family, or whose cattle 
are ill. 

A very remarkable cross-carving occurs upon a small pillar- 
stone leaning upon the side of a well-building, situate at a little 
distance from Cliff oney. The design, No. 1, fig. 58, is curious, 
the head of the figure containing a carefully wrought swastica, 
or croix gammee. This form of cross was known in days of 
remote antiquity ; and, was used in ante- Christian times by 
various nations. " The truth is," writes Dr. Graves, Bishop 
of Limerick, " that the early Christians finding this symbol in 
common use, employed it as a disguised cross in times of 
persecution, when, with their profound reverence for the 
sign of the cross, they were obliged to combine a certain pru- 
dence, which restrained them from exposing the emblem of 
their faith freely to the view of pagans. De Eossi does not 
hesitate to declare that only one exception is known to the 
general statement that the simple undisguised cross does not 
appear on monuments before the time of Constantine." 

But of all the groups of early Celtic cross-markings found 
in Ireland that upon Inismurray is the most varied and inter- 
esting. The majority of these figurings bear wonderful 
resemblance to crosses carved by early Christians on the walls 
of pagan temples in Egypt. No. 2 of fig. 58 represents a 
design, a counterpart of which was observed by Bishop Graves 
upon a Coptic or Egyptian temple. The stone measures in 
height 26^ inches. 

No. 3 is a cross, exhibiting the spirals characteristic of an 
early age. A large portion of the stone appears to be missing. 
There were, in all likelihood, five crosses upon the leac as it 
originally stood. The meaning of the five crosses which are 
found carved upon a number of the Inismurray monuments is 
a subject for conjecture. The design is, however, to be seen 
on pillar stones remaining in some of the western counties. 
The original of No. 4 measures 14J inches in height. 

No. 5 measures 2 feet in length by 15 inches in breadth. 

2 B 


A peculiarity of this design is that the base of the shaft 
expands into a figure similar to certain ancient representations 
of a ship's anchor ; an anchor, as well as a ship, amongst primi- 
tive Christians, sometimes symbolized the Church. Within the 
quadrants of the principal cross of this slab are four circular 
cup-like depressions ; markings of this class, so placed, indicate 
an extremely early age for the remains on which they occur. 

On No. 6 stone is a cross of the earliest Christian type. 
A similar one was sketched by Dr. Graves from an example 
found by him carved upon the wall of a Coptic Church. Here 
we find the " mast and yard," symbolic of the Church ; while 
the shaft terminates in a figure apparently intended to repre- 
sent an anchor. This stone measures in height 19 inches. 

Nos. 7 and 8 represent fragments of slabs. The character of 
No. 8 is extremely Celtic. Of the inscription which was carved 
upon the other, only the word CRUX remains. 

No. 9 is 31 inches in height. Upon the reverse may be 
seen a plain Eoman cross with cup-marks in the quadrants. 

No. 10 measures in height above the socket 2 feet. At 
the intersection of the cross are the remains of a much worn 
quatrefoil. The back of this monument exhibits a plain Eoman 

No. 11 represents the head of a pillar-stone. It measures 
upwards of 3 feet in height from the socket. 

No. 12 is carved with two crosses, one above the other. 
The uppermost is in what Dr. Graves calls the eastern style. 
The other is Eoman. The stone is about 4 feet in height 
above the socket. 

No. 13 shows a cross similar to one that occurs upon the 
so-called "alphabet-stone," at Kilmalkedar, County Kerry, the 
lettering of which was considered by both Petrie and 'Donovan 
to be as old as the sixth century. 

No. 14 is like some observed by Dr. Graves on Coptic 
Churches on the banks of the Nile. 

No. 15 is of rare and early form. It is probably of the 
sixth or seventh centuries. 

[To face page 370. 





In the parish of Kilturra, the ancient and curious cross, 
situated at the well of St. Attracta, is probably of a date not 
later than the sixth century. It closely resembles a class of 
sculpture that students in ecclesiology have observed upon the 
walls, or over the doorways of primitive Christian Churches 
still remaining in parts of Northern Africa, Syria, and Asia 
Minor, and these buildings are supposed to be as old as the 
fourth century. A peculiarity of this Sligo cross is that from 
its horizontal limb rise eight scorings, four in each quadrant, 
and in this respect the monument 
appears to be unique. These scorings 
or digits may, perhaps, be a species of 
oghamic cipher, for all writings of this 
genus were, it is alleged, intended to 
be more or less disguised. To the 
class as represented by this specimen 
no key has been at present discovered. 
The total height of the cross over 
ground is 24 inches, and it measures 
10 inches along its longitudinal limb. 
The lines are incised in the sandstone 
of which the cross is formed. 

Near it stands a modern cross, 
stated to have been erected at the 
close of the last century by "Bishop 
Phillips." It is composed of a quad- 
rangular piece of limestone, resembling 

an ordinary headstone in a graveyard. It is 27 inches in height, 
by 16 J inches in width ; there is no lettering on it. 

The " patron " held on the llth of August at the well was 
abolished about the year 1776. Being on the borders of the 
county it was largely attended by Mayo and Eoscommon 
people. At the close of one of these " patrons " a faction fight 
occurred ; a man was killed quite close to the priest's residence, 
and by him the annual gathering was then interdicted. 

On the establishment of Christianity, the sacred trees of the 


FIG. 59. Cross at Kilturra. 


Pagan cult do not appear to have been cut down, nor was wor- 
ship at the wells forbidden, but the various objects of Pagan 
veneration were sanctified by association with a saint's name, 
instead of that of a heathen deity, and thus from objects of 
Pagan they became those of Christian idolatry. 

"Honey-tree" is the remarkable designation of an old 
sycamore in the townland of Coollemoneen, in the parish of 
Killadoon, and it is so styled on the Ordnance Survey maps. 
It stands on a mound surrounded by stones, some of which are 
so disposed as to simulate the form of a rude altar. Like many 
other old and solitary- growing trees, it has legends and tra- 
ditions attached to it, some of which are yet current among 
the old people of the neighbourhood. "Bile" (billa), remarks 
P. W. Joyce, " signifies a large tree . . . ' Bile ' was generally 
applied to a large tree, which for any reason was held in vene- 
ration by the people ; for instance, one under which their chiefs 
used to be inaugurated, or periodical games celebrated. Trees 
of this kind were regarded with intense reverence and affection. 
One of the greatest triumphs that a tribe could achieve over 
their enemies was to cut down their inauguration tree, and no 
outrage was more keenly resented, and when possible visited 
with sharper retribution. . . . These trees were pretty common 
in past times ; some of them remain to this day, and are often 
called Bell trees, or Bellow trees an echo of the old word, Bile. 
In most cases, however, they have long since disappeared, but 
their names remain in many places to attest their former 
existence." There is a townland of Billa, in the parish of 
Ballysadare; and in a MS. in the Library, Eoyal Irish Academy, 
one such tree, which is styled " the fern tree," situated in 
the parish of Kilmacteige, is described in an account of the 

This veneration for, or even perhaps ancient worship of 
trees is singular. Carlyle, in his " Hero Worship/' states 
that amongst the old Norse, life was figured as a tree. 

On the 1st May a large bunch of gorse in full bloom, or of 
marsh marigold, may be seen suspended over every door. Some 


say it is for the purpose of " pleasing the good people "; others, 
that it is " to keep luck in the house." For some time during the 
day no fire is allowed on the hearth ; fire is not allowed to he 
taken out of the house for that would be considered giving away 
the luck neither would a stranger he given even a light for his 
pipe. The hunch of gorse is afterwards either buried or burnt. 
In 1890, a person who walked down a street of thatched houses 
in the town of Sligo on the 1st May could, only in two 
instances, note the absence of the customary emblem. 

Oh the 23rd June, St. John's Eve commonly termed 
Bonfire Night fires are lighted on roads, generally speaking 
where two or more ways meet ; not long ago, on all the heights, 
cattle used to be driven through the flames, children were 
swung over them, and men and boys jumped through them 
with the children, as it was imagined that by such purification 
they would be secured from accident or disease during the 
remainder of the year. 1 

The custom of kindling fires on Midsummer Eve appears 
to have been quite as prevalent in England as in Ireland, for 
in a work by T. Nagy<^orgus, an English translation of which 
appeared in 1570, the following description occurs : 

" When thus till night they daunced have, they through the fire amaine, 
With striving minds doe run. ..." 

Others allege that these fires were made to drive away dragons 
and evil spirits, and that the custom of burning bones was that 
" the dragons hattyd nothing mor than the stynche of burnyng 
bones ! " In these fires the leg-bones of horses were in great 
requisition to aid the flames. 

Bonfires were allowed to be kindled in the streets of Sligo 
even between rows of thatched cottages. Kemonstrances were 
vain, " the custom " was pleaded in excuse ; but finally a house 
was burnt from a spark from one of these fires ; the grand jury 

i In Folk Lore there is an account of somewhat similar observances in 
Greece on May Day, as well as the Custom on St. John's Eve of lighting 
bonfires and jumping over them. 


found the damage so inflicted was " wanton " ; the owner 
recovered the value of his property, and the tenant that of his 
chattels from the rates. 

" Gkrland," or " Garlic Sunday " was, in some places, the 
special festival of the saint to whom the church of the district 
had been dedicated, garlands being then laid on the graves of 
friends and relations. About Dublin the festival, it is stated, 
used to be kept on St. John's, i. e. Midsummer Day, and in 
some localities it was associated with a visit to a holy well. 
About the town of Sligo it is kept on the last Sunday of July, 
and the holy well of Tubbernalt appears to be a great point of 
attraction, the altar and crucifix being then profusely decorated 
with flowers. Whiskey-drinking and dancing seem, however, 
to be the principal signs by which this special Sabbath may be 
distinguished ; in fact, within the last two or three years there 
appears to have been a revival of the observances of this 

On St. Stephen's Day, a crowd of little boys whose leader 
carrying a bush gaily decorated with flowers, on the top of 
which was attached a dead wren used to perambulate the 
streets begging money from the passers-by, and chaunting a 
doggerel, of which only the first two lines could be distinguished : 

" The wren, the wren, the King of all birds, 
Was caught on St. Stephen's Day in the furze." 

The origin of the persecution of the wren on this special day 
is very problematic, but it is said to prevail in Ireland, in 
the Isle of Man, and in the South of France. "In olden 
times," remarks P. W. Joyce, " the little bird was regarded as 
a great prophet, for by listening attentively to its chirping those 
who were skilled in the language of birds were enabled to pre- 
dict future events. Hence the writer of an old life of St. 
Moling translates drean, which is one (Irish) name for the bird, 
by ' magus avium,' the * druid of birds,' implying that drean was 
derived from 'drui-en' (drui, a druid, en of birds), and says 


that it was so called on account of the excellence of its 

A legend narrates that some soldiers of the army of William 
III. were awakened by the noise of a wren pecking on the 
drum-head; the drummer beat to arms, and a surprise intended 
by the Jacobites was thus frustrated. Hence the little bird was 
a favourite with the Williamites, and was persecuted by the 
Jacobite peasantry. Mr. S. 0. Hall carries this back to Danish 
times; but both legends appear to have been manufactured 
with the object of accounting for the prevailing custom. 

It was formerly believed that a certain cure for epilepsy 
consisted of the first verse of the Gospel of St. John, written on 
a small slip of paper, sewed up in a piece of cloth, and worn 
suspended from the neck of the afflicted person. This charm 
was believed to be not only a cure but a preservative from the 
malady, as also a protection from the power of demons and 
witches who are supposed to have still as they are related to 
have had in ante-Christian times the power of afflicting persons 
with convulsions, madness, and similar afflictions. 

Quack cattle-doctors are not yet extinct, for there are 
credulous people who, when their cattle commence to fail, 
or become seriously affected, at once send for the so-called 
doctor to exorcise the spells of the " good people " who have 
afflicted the poor brute beast. Cattle thus stricken are said to 
be " elf-shot." Writing of an amulet in possession of a family 
resident in the South of Ireland, Mr. Atkinson remarks that 
" the curative virtues of this stone are still believed in by the 
country people. By being placed in a vessel containing water, 
the water is supposed to get impregnated with the healing 
powers, which, mixed with more water, is administered to the 
suffering cattle." The same superstition exists in parts of 

The arrows of the elfin spirits were also supposed to possess 
the virtue of removing or averting evil. In the remote parts of 
Ireland, Scotland, and England the peasantry still believe that 
water in which " elf darts " and coins have been placed is an 


infallible remedy for cattle that have been shot at by the 
"fairies." Arrow-heads, when used as amulets, were further 
accredited with the power of preserving the wearers from 
dangers and from the influence of malignant spirits. It was 
almost certain that it was for this purpose they found a place 
in the necklaces worn by the ancient inhabitants of Egypt and 
of Etruria. In Italy they are still in common use as preserva- 
tives against evil, and in our own land it is only within the 
present century that they have ceased to be carried as charms. 
It is strange that as soon as bronze and iron had superseded 
flint, implements formed of the latter substance should have 
come to be regarded as sacred and supernatural objects, and 
that common and apparently self-evident utilitarian implements 
of savage life should be looked on as possessing " virtues as 
wonderful as they are incredible." 

Some of the country people still firmly believe that the 
barnacle goose, which breeds in the high northern latitudes, i.e. 
Iceland, Lapland, &c., but is a winter visitant to our sea-coast, 
is really propagated from the cirriped marine testaceous animal 
so often found adhering to wooden piles and hulls of vessels ; 
but in this idea they were not singular, for in former times 
even learned writers gravely affirmed the same. Probably the 
delusion first arose from the designation " barnacle " being 
common to both. It was long, however, before truth prevailed, 
and the absurd doctrine of the generation of these sea-fowl was 
finally refuted. 

By the peasantry certain acts are deemed unlucky, such as 
to weigh or measure young children, or put them out through a 
window ; to burn or throw away human hair (it was usually hid 
in the interstices of walls) ; to dig potatoes before " Garland 
Sunday"; to kill crickets; to lend a clocking-hen, &c. A 
horse-shoe, if found, brings good luck ; it should be preserved 
and hung up on the exterior of the house or out-office ; it is a 
preventative of disease or misfortune, and a sure preservative 
against the machinations of witches or fairy-spells. 


A cure for ring- worm was effected by rubbing the spots 
with a gold ring ; pounded snails cured bruises ; water in the 
hollow of certain stones removed warts ; for instance, near the 
Abbey of Ballindoon is " St. Dominick's Stone," having on its 
top a cup-shaped hollow generally full of water which is 
supposed to be a certain cure for these excrescences, whilst in 
the parish of Killery there is a spring styled Tobernawanny, 
i.e. the wart well, doubtless from the curative properties of the 
spring. Witches take the form of hares; a seventh son possesses 
special curative powers; spilling, or helping a person to salt, 
making a present of a knife, a scissors, or a box of pins, breaking 
a looking-glass or going under a ladder, all these acts bring ill- 
luck. Never boast of good-luck or immunity from ill ; if having 
inadvertently committed this offence against the " good people," 
instantly qualify the boast by the ejaculation " In a good hour 
be it spoken ! " 

In the townland of Keelty, in the parish of Drumcliff, are 
the remains of a ruined church, founded, according to local 
tradition, by St. Columbkille. It is stated that the only burials 
which now take place in the surrounding grave-yard are the 
remains of infants who die unbaptized. Some residents in the 
neighbourhood hold the strange belief that such children are 
turned into owls, and therefore they regard it as unlucky to kill 
these birds. Black cats possess special demoniac power, and are 
frequently appointed guardians of hidden treasure. To buy a 
horse from a priest or a parson is unlucky. One of the most 
generally credited superstitions was that of the " Evil Eye." 
A certain cure for warts is supposed to be to steal a piece of 
raw meat and bury it ; according as the meat decays so will 
the warts diminish. 

Many legends with which the history of the country 
abounded date so early as from the sixth century. Those 
connected with Sligo were in process of being transcribed and 
translated when a stop was put to the work by the death of the 
late W. H. Hennessy. 


The Pursuit of Dermod and Grania is too long to be given in 
its entirety. They resided at Bath-Grania, near Colloony ; and 
the death of Dermod takes place on Benbulben. Of this epic 
at least two translations have been made, one by Standish H. 
O'Grady, and another by Dr. Joyce, in Old Celtic Romances. 
Grania, daughter of King Cormac Mac Art, was affianced to 
Finn the son of Cumal, commander-in-chief of the Feni, or 
warriors of the kingdom. The king gave a great banquet at 
Tara in honour of the betrothal, where the bride fell in love 
with Dermod O'Dyna ; she had drugs placed in all the wine 
cups except that of Dermod, and when the company were in a 
state of stupor she eloped with her lover. A long account is 
given of the pursuit of the runaway couple by the naturally 
irate Finn, of the different places in which they took refuge, of 
their hair-breadth escapes, of their retreat in the barony of 
Tireragh. Finn, worsted in every attempt against the life of 
Dermod, grew weary of the quarrel, and peace was made. 

Dermod and Grania went to live far away from Finn and 
Cormac in the cantred of Kesh-Corran, where they abode many 
years in peace. Grania, however, became tired of the solitude, 
and begged her husband to invite the king her father, and also 
Finn ; " for," Grania said, " their enmity has surely softened 
with length of time ; and now I would that you give them a 
feast ; so shall we win back their friendship and love." In an 
evil hour Dermod consented ; and the entire court of Tara 
remained for twelve months feasting with Dermod, until he, 
despite the entreaties of his wife, went out to hunt the magical 
boar of Benbulben, by whom he was wounded. His enemy 
Finn found him lying in the pangs of death : Dermod begged 
of him a drink of water ; for, by the magic power possessed by 
Finn, to whomsoever he gave a drink of water from the closed 
palms of his two hands, he would be at once made whole. Finn 
went reluctantly to the well for the healing draught ; twice he 
let the water purposely slip through his hand; but, being 
menaced with instant death by Oscar if he did not give the 
healing drink, he was hastening forward the third time when 
Dermod expired. 



Grania had sat all day watching for Dermod's return ; 
when, at last, the hunting party came in sight, and she saw 
her husband's favourite hound led by Finn, she knew that 
Dermod was no more, and she fell fainting into the arms of 
her handmaidens. 

This Celtic legend was one of the most widely-spread ; for 
the Irish-speaking peasant still designates some of the rude 
stone monuments in Ireland as the " beds of Dermod and 
Grama " ; and accounts for them by alleging that they were 
erected by Dermod as a shelter for his wife when they were 
flying from before the wrath of Finn. There is a "Dermod 
and Grania " bed in the townland of Carrickglass, another in 
that of Carrownagh, also at Castlecarragh, &c. There are 
legends of the magical boar at Benbulben, at Cloonmacdun 2 , near 
Colloony, and at Scurmore. The celebrated cavern of Gleniff 
is called also Dermod and Grania' s bed ; and this seems to be 
the only instance within the County Sligo in which the story of 
the runaway couple is connected with any object save that of a 
rude stone monument. 

Until a comparatively recent period these popular legends 
were still recounted by the local shannachies. In 1815 Wakefield 
met one of these in " the neighbourhood of Nymphsfield," who 
repeated a long history in Irish, which he called the Poems of 
Osheen, meaning probably the poems of Ossian. What he 
rehearsed seemed to be a confused legend which the man had 
learned by heart ; for, when interrupted, he could not proceed 
without beginning again. 

A mythical submergence of the ancient town of Sligo has 
been recounted. Yery many years ago a peasant, who lived on 
the borders of Lough Gill, had occasion at midnight (on 23rd 
June) to draw water, and, approaching the margin of the lake, 
observed the " cool shining mirror " receding onwards. Although 
astonished at the phenomenon, the peasant continued to walk 
through a totally unknown country, and entered a stately city 
with magnificent streets and buildings. Of the beings there to 
be seen the nearest started forward to seize the intruder, who 


quickly turned and fled. There is the authority of Burns for 
stating that the spirits of the Scottish land have such a dread of 
water that " a running stream they dar' na' cross " ; but these 
were genuine Irish spirits ; for, despite an admixture of the 
watery element, they remained potent enough to keep up the 
chase on land. The fugitive strained every nerve, and finally 
succeeded in bursting through the cabin door, and, on recovering 
consciousness, was lying on the bed, the only memento of this 
wonderful escape being a curiously-shaped bottle, having a 
pungent odour, and which had been taken (as alleged when 
recounting the adventure) from off the table of a mansion in 
the buried city ; so that there appears to have been some 
grounds for the story, though, like " the baseless fabric of a 
dream," both the peasant and the fairy city of Lough Gill have 
alike vanished from human ken. 

" Everybody knows," remarks P. W. Joyce, " that a ghost 
without a head is very usual, not only in Ireland, but all over 
the world." There is also a "hideous kind of hobgoblin, 
generally met with in churchyards, called a dullaghan, who can 
take off and put on his head at will ; in fact, you generally 
meet him with that member in his pocket, under his arm, or 
absent altogether ; or, if you have the fortune to light on a 
number of them, you may see them amusing themselves by 
flinging their heads at one another, or kicking them for foot- 
balls." Sligo can boast of several of these interesting beings. 
In former days there was an Irish chief who lived at Loughan- 
acaha, i.e. the lakelet of the winnowing, now known as Chaff- 
pool. 1 This chief had an only child (a daughter) regarding 
whom there was a prophecy, that she would be lost before 
attaining the age of twenty-one years. The father then built 

1 Chaffpool derives its name from a phenomenon that is not uncommon 
in a limestone district. Whenever a furlough, situated about half a mile 
from the house, chances to be full, an inundation then takes place in a 
depression of the ground at some considerable distances, and if oats be 
winnowed at the turlough, the chaff comes up on this rise of water, showing 
that there must exist an underground communication between the two. 



a house with a moat about it, 1 in which he placed the child. 
Despite all these precautions, the little girl did manage to escape 
from the "moated grange," and wandered to a boggy place 
called Cashel Cawley, where she was found by one of the kerns, 
who took her to his own house for the night, did all he could 
for her, and started early next morning for her home (wrapping 
her carefully in his sheepskin), and gave her up to her father. 
The chief demanded why the child had not been brought the 
moment she had been found. "Sure," said the kern, "I 
thought it too cold for her, so I made her warm and comfort- 
able." " You ruffian," retorted the chief, " you lost me my 
rest last night " ; and he ordered him to be beheaded near the 
large ash-trees at the gate of the present garden at Chaffpool. 
The ghost of the kern with a lantern where his head ought to 
be, but that member under his arm was believed to haunt the 
spot. He has been seen often ; but the last case occurred in 
1871, about which time a fence was being made near the place, 
and a skeleton was discovered having the skull detached from 
the remainder of the bones ; it was decently re-interred, and the 
ghost has not since re-appeared. 

" The practice of removing the head from the trunk, in order 
to bury it in some celebrated locality, must have been one of 
not unusual occurrence amongst the early Irish. Thus we find 
in the Annals of the Four Masters, that in the barony of Bally- 
brit, in the King's Co, A.D. 1213, was interred the head of 
Etech," an ancient Irish heroine. In Petrie's paper on Tara 
it is mentioned that the head of Cuchullin was buried on Tara 
hill. Also, in the Annals of the Four Masters, anno 565, it is 
recorded that the head of Diarmaid Mac Fergus was buried at 
Clonmacnoise ; his body where he was killed, in the county 

It has been asserted that a dullaghan, or headless phantom, 
used to frequent the streets of Sligo, and that the ships at the 

i The site, as pointed out by the county people, strongly resembles the 
remains of a crannog or lake dwelling ; and, when filling in "the moat" a 
keg of bog-butter was found, weighing about 20 Ibs. 



quay were haunted by a " black dog " a form, perhaps, of the 
pooka. Under present management, however, the improvement 
of gaslight has banished them. On Aughris Head is a locality 
styled Pollaphuca ; and it is probably connected with a legend 
of one of these strange hobgoblins. 

At Seaview, in Tireragh, there is said to be a phantom-coach 
which at certain periods is driven along the avenue leading to 
the residence. The coachman is headless, as are also the four 
black horses harnessed to the chariot. The question may be 
naturally asked, how does the coachman see to guide his team, 
and where does he place the bits to guide his four-in-hand ? His 
head is doubtless, as is usual with dullaghans, under his arm, but 
where are the heads of the four horses ? 

There are other residences in the county where the sound of 
carriages driving along the approach to the house is frequently 
heard, generally, however, when there is a high wind. There 
is also a phantom boat, rowed by a crew of dullagham, which at 
certain seasons of the year traverses the river Garvogue, from 
the lake to the sea ; sometimes the crew are visible, but often 
the oars move without any apparent agency. 

Glennawoo, a townland in the parish of Kilmacteige, remarks 
P. W. Joyce, " must have been, and perhaps still is, a ghastly 
neighbourhood, for the name Gleann-na-bhfuath (Glennawoo) 
signifies the Glen of the Spectres." 

The legend attached to Knocknarea can be best explained 
by relating the adventure, if it may so be termed, which 
more than half a century ago befel an officer then quartered 
in Sligo. Desirous of ascending the mountain he started on 
a day which promised to be favourable, but scarcely had he 
reached the summit of the Misgaun, when a fog set in so 
rapidly, and of a nature so dense, that the greatest caution 
was needful in attempting the descent. Whilst wandering 
downward with slow and cautious steps, he observed through 
the mist a female figure weeping and wringing her hands 
as if in great distress. Under the impression that it was a 
lady who had (like himself) lost her way in the fog, he 
advanced towards her to offer aid, but at his approach, she 


retired, although still continuing to weep. He imagined that the 
appearance of a mere stranger had caused increased alarm on her 
part, therefore thought it more advisable to continue on his own 
course and succeeded in reaching level ground in safety. He 
mentioned the circumstance of meeting the lady he had seen in 
such grief. Then for the first time he heard of the Spirit of the 
Mountain, who he was assured must have presented herself to 
his view. This spirit is reputed to appear only once in every 
seven years, and whatever mortal chances then to see her, is 
certain to encounter some serious misfortune within twelve 
months. The officer in question was suddenly ordered abroad ; 
he sailed on board the Kent, East Indiaman, which was 
destroyed by fire at sea. 

The name of St. Patrick is connected in popular legend with 
Coney Island. In a field not far from the Atlantic-beaten shore 
is a large erratic boulder having three step-like ledges, and here 
it is stated that strangers occasionally come to pray, and miracu- 
lous cures follow the petitions of the faithful: some of the 
islanders, however, appear to be sceptical, both as to the efficacy 
of the prayers and the antiquity of the custom. According to 
local tradition St. Patrick, when in Sligo, resided for some time 
on the island, and observing the need of a safe communication 
with the mainland, commenced a causeway, which was to con- 
nect it with Strandhill. He sent a messenger to his hostess, a 
woman named Stoney, i. e. Mulclohy (hence the ancient name 
of the Island Inismulclohy), to cook a rabbit for his dinner. 
When, however, the saint sat down, pronouncing a blessing on 
the food, a gigantic cat jumped up off the platter set before him. 
It would seem that his hostess, not having a rabbit in readiness, 
substituted a fine specimen of the feline tribe. St. Patrick was 
so disgusted at this treatment, that he never resumed his work, 
and his ante-dinner labour is now represented by the small 
island styled Doonanpatrick. On taking his departure, instead 
of leaving a blessing on the islanders, he prayed that there might 
never be four of the name of Stoney (i.e. sons of the same father 
and mother) alive at the same time to carry the remains of one 
of their relations to the grave. 


The work that St. Patrick abandoned has in later days been 
to some extent effected by the Grand Jury of the county. The 
direct route to the island across the strand is now marked by 
14 pillars, built of stone, and placed in a direct line from the 
old Scarden Mills. The pillars are on quadrangular bases with 
steps, and having rings strongly secured to the pillars; these 
have been instrumental in saving many lives, for persons over- 
taken by the tide may often be observed clinging to the rings or 
seated on the summit of a pillar, where they present a most 
singular appearance. 1 A roadway is now in course of con- 

Along the borders of the river Garvogue, at a spot styled 
Lugananta (i. e. the hollow of the nettles), is the site on which 
was fought, in 1645, the battle by the B. C. Archbishop of Tuam 
at least so says local tradition. In the commencement of this 
century, when the present woods with which the hollow is sur- 
rounded were being planted, swords, pistols, guns, and armour 
were dug up. This spot is on the line of the old track which 
formerly led from Cairns to Ballintogher, along the shore of 
Lough Gill through the pass between Slish and Slieve-da-en. 

Cope's mountain, with its fearful precipices (bordering the 
valley of Glencar) is the scene of the alleged " Protestant leap." 
The legend connected with it is as follows : A detachment of 
Colonel Hamilton's troops (garrisoned in Manorhamilton during 
the war of 1641) was making a raid into Sligo, and obtained a 
guide, who stipulated, in return for a certain sum of money, to 
enable the party to fall on the Irish unawares, at the close 
of the evening. " Accordingly he led them up the mountain, 
directing them to halt a little short of the precipice, of the exis- 
tence of which they had not the most remote idea, while he 
himself moved forward to ascertain if all was favourable among 
the Irish, in which case he was to give them a signal, by drop- 
ping his cloak, to rush on to the work of havoc. The cloak was 

1 A Mr. William Dorian, the then proprietor of the island hence it was 
sometimes styled Dorran's Island was drowned whilst crossing over to his 
house, on the 9th March, 1823. 


dropped, on perceiving which, rushing forward with eager haste, 
they reached the verge of the precipice, where, unable to check 
themselves, the rear pressing on the front rank, every man of 
the detachment was hurled down that fearful abyss. . . . Their 
deceitful guide had dropped the cloak just on the edge of the 
abyss, towards which they accordingly rushed, and he, stepping 
aside, either made his way down the mountain again, or re- 
mained to gloat over the destruction of his victims." 

It is almost needless to add that there does not appear to be 
the slightest substratum of truth in the legend, particularly if it 
be remembered that many of Hamilton's troopers were men 
who had escaped from Sligo, and were well acquainted with its 

Mirages are not uncommon. A correspondent writes " I 
myself, upwards of half a century ago, saw a wonderful mirage, 
resembling that lately described as having been visible off our 
Tireragh coast, and had I been looking on the bay for the first 
time, nothing could have persuaded me but that I was gazing 
at a veritable city a large and handsome one, too trees, houses, 
spires, castellated buildings, &c." 

The enchanted Island of Hy Brazil 1 was seen off the coast 
in the year 1885 ; this vision forebodes so it is alleged 
national trouble. 

It was much remarked in 1688 that William III. was 
enabled to reach Torbay, and to disembark unmolested, whilst 
James's Admiral was incapacitated from sailing by the same 
wind. Hence, winds favourable to their cause were called by 
the people of England " Protestant winds." 

Gerald Griffin describes it thus : 

" On the ocean that hollows the rocks where ye dwell, 
A shadowy land has appeared, as they tell ; 
Men thought it a region of sunshine and rest, 
And they called it Hy-Brasail the isle of the blest. 
The beautiful spectre showed lovely and dim ; 
The golden clouds curtained the deep where it lay, 
And it looked like an Eden away, far away ! " 



Sligo also had its observations as to winds from different 
quarters for instance, about the town, a wind blowing from 
the direction of Ballintogher is supposed always to bring rain. 
On a mail-boat crossing the Atlantic a native of Sligo recognized 
a fellow-townsman by the answer made to his remark that there 
was heavy rain with a southerly wind : " What can you expect 
but that from a Ballintogher wind ? " 



HE Irish seem always to have been a sporting race. 
A MS. which recounts the fantastical voyage of 
an ancient Milesian thus depicts the hero : " He 
was high-spirited and generous, and he loved all 
sorts of manly exercises. In ball-playing, in 
running and leaping, in throwing the stone, in chess- 
playing, and in horse-racing, he surpassed all the 
youths that came to the King's palace, and won the palm in every 
contest." When Beranger visited the island of Inismurray 
in the eighteenth century, he found the learned professions at a 
discount ; his guide, the only native who could speak English, 
informed him " very gravely, that they had neither priest, phy- 
sician, nor lawyer amongst them, and that they were religious, 
healthy, and lived in peace, without quarrels." 

A writer, describing the state of society at the close of the 
last century, says that although hard cash was scant, and no 
bank-notes were in use, yet food of all kinds was plentiful, and 
little inconvenience was experienced from the want of a circu- 
lating medium. In the country all the gentry were resident, 
and there was constant employment. The same writer divides 
the gentry into three classes : " the half-mounted gentlemen," or 
well-to-do yeomen; " gentlemen, every inch of them," i.e. men 
of good family, but in poor circumstances ; and " gentlemen 
to the backbone," i. e. men of family and having good means. 

Our ancestors of the eighteenth century were even more 
devoted to outdoor exercises of all kinds than their descendants 
of the present day. There were in the county three packs of 
hounds, the Drumfin, the Coopershill, and the Tireragh ; also 
a subscription pack in the town of Sligo. 

2C 2 


Of the Coopershill pack, the hounds seem to have been, in 
early days, kept entirely for fox-hunting, and many apocryphal 
accounts of their runs are narrated. This pack is still in 
existence, and although they now hunt but " the timid hare," 
their height and massive build proclaim their fox-hunting 

The Sligo pack of hounds had a more chequered career, as 
for some period it appears to have been kept by gentlemen 
residing in the vicinity of the town, and was supported 
by subscription ; it so continued until taken up by the late 
Sir Eobert G-ore-Booth, and after his decease there was an 
interval of a couple of years before it was resuscitated equally 
to the enjoyment of the farmers and the gentry. To the credit 
of the former be it stated that, during the worst days of the 
land-agitation through which Ireland has recently passed, Sligo 
was one of the few counties in which no attempt was made to 
" boycott " sport. 

The gentlemen of this Hunt had the reputation of being 
hard-riders and deep drinkers. A well-known member of the 
field was commonly known as "The Bloomer," and he is 
reputed to have received that nickname from the speech he 
made, when proposing to a young lady in these terms : " My 
face is rough" he was deeply marked by smallpox " but my 
acres are smooth and blooming." 

Like most gentlemen of the period, he belonged to the yeo- 
manry, and to a mounted corps. At an inspection a portion of 
his uniform was objected to, as being covered with stains. This 
fact he admitted, but stated that they were " all honourable 
stains, marks of the best port- wine in the county." One 
evening, after dining jovially at a friend's house, his horse 
was brought to the door, and he bade his host good-bye, but 
when some time had elapsed, and the latter did not hear the 
sound of a departing steed, he proceeded to make inquiry, and 
found his guest, seated in the hall, engaged in pulling on his 
top-boots, his lower garments, of leather a then very expensive 
item being carefully folded up on a chair beside him. In 
answer to the remonstrances of his host, and pointing to the 


thickly-falling ;rain, lie exclaimed " God's leather to God's 
weather," emphasising his words with a hearty slap on the 
denuded portion of his limbs. 

Many other members of the field are even still remembered, 
notably one gentleman who bore the reputation of being the 
most inveterate gambler of his day. His boon-companions had 
facetiously dubbed him " The Commodore," because he had 
never attained to higher rank in the navy than that of midship- 
man, having left the service upon the death of his elder brother, 
when he succeeded to an income that rendered him independent 
of his profession. Like all gamblers, " The Commodore " was 
either, to all appearance, rolling in wealth, or reduced almost to 
penury. On one occasion he is stated to have returned from a 
race-course followed by a long string of carriages, cars, gigs, &c., 
won from other frequenters of the course, after having by for- 
tunate betting gained all their ready cash ; he himself headed 
the procession, driving a hearse won from an inn-keeper with 
whom he had staked all his vehicles against the hearse. On 
wet days, when time hung heavy on his hands, a favourite amuse- 
ment with " The Commodore " was watching the drops of water 
trickling down the window-panes, and betting, with his chance- 
companions, as to which drop should fall first. One day, on the 
way to a meet of the hounds, the party being caught in heavy 
rain, took shelter on the lee-side of a cottage, where they passed 
the time in drawing straws out of the thatch ; whoever drew the 
longest at each pull won the wager. 

The hounds in the Barony of Tireragh were long well-known 
to the sporting community ; they were kept by various indivi- 
duals at one time by a clergyman who took extreme pleasure 
in field-sports, and possessed a peculiar aptitude for training 
and attaching to himself horses and dogs. Some amusing 
anecdotes have been told about him. 

The Bishop, when visiting the parishes in his diocese, 
amongst other places, arrived at the residence of this clergy- 
man, where he was hospitably entertained. The Bishop asked 
his host if there was a " terrier " at the glebe : it may be well 
to explain that " terrier " is the legal and technical term applied 


to a descriptive register of glebe and glebe-lands. The parson, 
mistaking the nature of the inquiry, and imagining that his 
ecclesiastical superior had really some relish for sport, expressed 
his regret that he had not then a full-grown terrier to give 
away, but he could show his Lordship three splendid puppies 
from which to take his choice. The Bishop observing some 
hounds about the place, said to his host that he must be well 
aware it could not meet with his (the Bishop's) approval, that 
any of his clergy should keep hounds. " Oh! my Lord," replied 
the parson, " these harriers are not my property ; they belong 
to my wife's niece, who resides with us. " 

During the eighteenth and the early part of the present 
century, Bomore was the locality selected for the race-meetings 
of the county, and there could not be better situated ground as 
regards position, and the view afforded of the entire course ; it 
was the scene of many a hard contest when horse-racing was 
the leading national sport. The annual meeting lasted a 
week, and in the evening there was a subscription dance, given 
generally in a room in the Linen-Hall. There was also a 
permanent stand-house all vestige of which has now disap- 

When the late Sir Eobert Gore -Booth kept the Sligo 
hounds, the annual hunt-races were held near Tullyhill, and 
afterwards on the shores of Lough Gill, near Hazlewood ; finally, 
in 1886, the ancient glories of the old Bomore course were 

In 1821 yacht-racing seems first to have been regularly 
established. In that year a cup was presented by the ladies of 
the county to the racing community of Lough Gill. At the 
regatta held on September 27th of that year, Captain William 
Eochfort, E. N. (who was judge), stated that as the boat-race 
was intended for amusement, as well as to try the rate of sail- 
ing under equal canvas, he strongly recommended plain sails 
" flying kites or fancy sails rendering it extremely dangerous 
in a squally lake." Captain Kochfort's suggestion was adopted 


occasionally in the rules of racing for the cup, but it was not 
incorporated with the original conditions. The race was a 
strict class-race, the maximum length being fixed at 26 feet 
6 inches from the forepart of the stem to the afterpart of 
the sternpost. 

The course (as originally laid down) appears to have been 
twice round the lake nearly eighteen miles starting from a 
buoy placed between Cottage Island and the Hazlewood shore, 
and around buoys at Castle Point, Bunowna, and Shriff , with 
a straight run back, thus forming two triangles in each round. 

The following gives the original rules : 


Will take place on Tuesday, the 6th of August, 1822. Printed Regu- 
lations will be delivered to the Candidates upon application to R. B. 
Wynne, Esq., Treasurer. 


" A subscription has been raised by the Ladies, and a handsome 
Cup'purchased, to be called the Ladies' Cup, which is to be sailed for 
annually, under the following rules, viz. : 

" 1st. Any boat whatever may start, provided she does not exceed 
in length 26 feet from the forepart of the stem to the afterpart of 
the sternpost. 

" 2nd. Strangers will be allowed to enter their boats, as well as 
persons residing in the county of Sligo. 

" 3rd. The winner to retain the Cup till six days before next year's 
race, and previous to its delivery to him to give approved security to 
the Treasurer that it shall be returned to him safe and in good order, 
on or before that day. 

" 4th. Any person may start as many boats as he pleases. 

" 5th. Every boat to be entered in the name of the real owner. 

" 6th. Each boat to be entered on or before the 1st day of August 
next, and to pay 15s. entrance. 

" 7th. The boats to start on Thursday, the 8th of August next, at 
12 o'clock precisely, under the regulations for the original boat-race. 

" 8th. The Cup to remain in possession of the winner for the time 
being, but in no case to become his property. 

" Sligo, July 16, 1822." 


At the second contest for " The Ladies' Cup" in 1823, three 
boats started : 

" The race was admirably contested. Mr. Charles Martin's 
' Phoenix ' succeeded in point of time, about 5 minutes. It would 
be difficult to describe the gratification which the anxious crowd 
experienced at this interesting spectacle ; the beautiful eminences of 
Belvoir upon the estate of Mr. "Wynne were literally covered by 
holiday folk to the number perhaps of from 12,000 to 15,000 persons. 
On the lake were reckoned five-and-thirty boats with sails and oars, 
exclusive of the competitors for the cup on this occasion, and the total 
number of persons on board those craft could not have been less 
than between three and four hundred. The day was extremely well- 
adapted for a boat-race." 

For many years the possession of " The Ladies' Cup " was 
regularly contested, and accounts appeared in the local news- 

At the regatta in August, 1827 : 

" The day was fine, with a light breeze from the north-west. ... 
The 'Lady Sarah 7 came in first, having had no contest, as the 
' Penguin ' and the ' Shamrock ' unfortunately ran aground. The 
prize was withholden in this class, the 'Penguin' and ' Shamrock '. 
having thrown out ballast, and the ' Lady Sarah ' at starting, having 
in the hurry, hoisted her large jib as an outrigger, before the small one 
was quite down. 

"Thursday, 16th: it blew hard from the North. The ' Lady 
Sarah' and the 'Shamrock' started for the 'Ladies' Cup.' So fine 
a race was probably never seen, and the greatest skill was displayed. 
The ' Lady Sarah ' won by half a length the boats having sailed the 
course of 18 miles at the rate of 8 knots an hour, under three-reefed 
mainsails, notwithstanding their having gone considerably out of the 
direct line by each endeavouring to keep the weather- gauge." 

Three of the competing boats which took first prizes at this 
regatta are still at Hazlewood, i. e. the "Lady Sarah," winner 
of the " Ladies' Cup " ; also the " Thames " and " Mayflower," 
which won the prizes for rowing-boats of four and two oars, 


In August, 1831, there was a most exciting race in a fresh 
breeze ; the contest only lasted two hours : 

For the First Cup. 

Mr. "Wynne's " Lady Sarah," 1. 
Mr. Cullen's " Hester," 2. 

Mr. Wynne's (Jun.) " Penguin," 3. 

Second Cup. 

Mr. Martin's " Anne," 1. 

Sir E. G. Booth's " Caroline," 2. 
Mr. Wynne's " Portsmouth," 3. 

For the second-class there were three silver cups to be 
competed for by boats the property of persons resident in the 
county, or in the vicinity of Lough Gill, or the bay or river 
of Sligo. The cups when won thrice successively by one person, 
became his property. There were no restrictions. Each 
competitor was furnished with a printed copy of the regula- 
tions, and if the weather proved too calm or too stormy the 
committee could appoint any other favourable day for the 

In 1876, during a regatta on Lough Gill, a very serious 
accident occurred ; a small cutter named " The Glance " foun- 
dered during a heavy squall, and her crew four in number 
were drowned. Although it had gone down in one of the 
deepest parts of the lake the boat was raised. Shortly after- 
wards " The Glance " was racing at Bosses Point, when a 
sudden squall nearly swamped the yacht ; one of her crew all 
amateurs save the grim old helmsman said it was madness to- 
proceed ; and the sailor ejecting a stream of tobacco- juice from 
his mouth, coincided in this opinion, giving utterance to the 
remark since appropriated by others " that it was better to 
be a coward for five minutes than a corpse all one's life." 

Some of the racing-cups are here noticed : The "Ladies' 
Cup " is of antique design, is hand-made, and holds about nine 
gills. It is a fine piece of Irish embossed work, in sterling silver, 


and bears the mark of the Irish Goldsmiths' Hall and date-letters 
for the year 1821. It is 14 \ inches high, and 13 inches across 
the rim. The original weight was 69-5 troy ounces ; from 
repeated cleanings it now weighs only 68 ounces, but is in 
excellent preservation. On the body is the following inscrip- 

LOUGH GILL ; its designation, " THE LADIES' CUP," appears on 
the cover, and on the base CAPTAIN ROCHFORT, EOYAL NAVY, 
TREASURER. It is stated that the trade value of the Cup would 
be about 70, but owing to the scarcity of good plate of genuine 
Irish manufacture its value from an antiquarian stand-point 
would now be double the above sum. It can be challenged 
annually, but can never become the property of any yacht- 
owner, and is in fact a perpetual challenge cup. 

" The Sligo Bines Cup " bears the inscription LOUGH GILL 
it is a plain, engraved design of English manufacture, weighs 
31 ounces, and is worth about 20. On being won by the same 
person three times in succession it becomes the property of 
the successful competitor, but meanwhile can be challenged 

" The Rosses Point Challenge Cup," purchased by public 
subscription in 1880, is of embossed workmanship, and weighs 
about 33 ounces. 

There is also " The Raughley Regatta Cup," given in 1885. 
All these cups are (1891) in the possession of W. R. Fenton ; 
the two latter are his absolute property, having been won three 
times in succession (see fig. 60). There was also a " Corpora- 
tion Challenge Cup " (value 25), subject to similar conditions ; 
it was, however, finally won in 1876 by the cutter " Nymph," 
the property of R. B. Pettigrew. 

" The Sligo Yacht Club " comprises about ten boats ; it has 
a commodore, vice-commodore, and secretary; the burgee is 
red, with white anchor and black letter S. 

Many years ago there was in Sligo a rowing-club, which, 
however, collapsed; in 1879 another was started under the 
fairest auspices ; it existed, however, but a short time. Perhaps 

[To face page 394. 


Pig. 60. 




the melancholy accident which occurred at the regatta in 1881 
may have tended to produce the decline of the amusement. 
One of the cluh-boats was swamped in a heavy breeze, two 
of the crew were drowned, the third being saved by Mr. 
Wynne, who fortunately happened to be close at hand in a 
punt ; it was alleged that the crew of another boat rowed away 
from the drowning men. 

A medal for this club was designed by the well-known artist, 
John Woodhouse, and eighteen specimens, it is said, were 
struck ; six in silver, and twelve in white metal. It bears 
the inscription, COMMERCIAL ROWING CLUB, SLIGO, in small 
letters, round a blank centre ; on the reverse are the arms of 
Sligo a square tower and tree ; at base a hare running, &c., 
size 1*3. 

Shooting was, in Sligo, a favourite sport ; and, if credence 
can be attached to old stories, our ancestors were better shots, 
and certainly big battues excepted brought back better results 
from a day's tramp over the country than at present. Matches 
at pigeon-shooting formed a favourite pastime, and frequent 
accounts of performances at this sport, and for large wagers, 
occur in the local press. 

Those who are fond of shooting can procure sport in the 
proper season. On the coast, wild fowl, such as barnacle, 
duck, and widgeon, abound, whilst occasionally a seal might 
add zest to the occupation. 

Although the minute-book of "The Sligo Rifle Club " dates 
its establishment from 24th January, 1876, it must have had an 
earlier origin, as accounts of matches, held by an association of 
the same name, are of frequent occurrence prior to that date. 

Grood salmon-fishing may be had on the Drumcliff river, 
the lake of Glencar, Lough Gill, at Ballysadare, at Easky, 
and on the Moy ; but these places are all preserved, and the 
sport is certainly not so good as at the commencement of this 
century, when the Rector of Kilmacteige is reported to have 
killed, with his rod and single fly, 160 salmon in fourteen 
successive days ! 


Trout-fishing throughout the county is good, and in general 
open to the public, the best localities being Lough Arrow, 
Lough Talt, and Lough Eask ; other lakes, although less 
known, are equally good. In some localities " Gillaroo" trout 
are caught ; this variety differs little in appearance from 
the more common species, except that the spots on it are of 
a deeper red hence the name " Gillaroo/' i.e. the red fellow 
and the belly and fins more golden in colour; it is also a 
broader and thicker fish. Internally it has a somewhat different 
organization, possessing a large and muscular stomach, which is 
generally found to contain a few small shell-fish. Despite the 
stomach being thus loaded, these trout rise to the fly. 

At one side of Lough Talt the trout are not considered 
good, the head being large, whilst those on the opposite shore 
of the lake are of excellent shape, size, and flavour. This is 
supposed to be produced by the feeding ground at the two 
extremities of this sheet of water causing a slight difference in 
the taste, as well as growth, of the fish ; at one end the lake 
bottom is gravelly, but at the other is soft peat. In some lakes 
the trout are supposed to be blind. Lough Nabrackkeagh (the 
lake of the blind trout), in the townland of Castlecarragh, 
parish of Kilmacteigue, was doubtless so named in accordance 
with this belief. Beranger, in his tour through Sligo in the 
last century, recounts of the Castle of Eosslee which is situated 
near Portland a story common to many abbeys, monasteries, 
and castles in Ireland. Beranger's words are : " Tradition has 
handed down a peculiar anecdote of the proprietor of this castle, 
who must have been a great epicure in fish. The castle stands 
on the sea-shore, and next to it runs a rivulet, much frequented 
by salmon ; in this rivulet the proprietor had contrived to build 
a trap, the door of which had a wire communicating with a bell 
in the kitchen of the castle. As soon as a salmon entered the 
trap, the bell rang, and the servants went immediately, fetched 
the salmon, and dressed it for their master." 

In the eighteenth century Irishmen (whether of Celtic or 
Saxon race) loved music and poetry ; this taste, no doubt, was 


fostered and kept alive by the customs of the country, " for in 
no European nation," remarks O'Curry, "is the antiquity and 
influence of the harp thrown so far back into the dark regions of 
history." For example going back to this mythical period- 
it is stated that after the defeat of the Fomorians at the battle 
of Northern Moytirra, in the county Sligo, they, in their retreat, 
carried off Maithne, the harper of Daghda ; being hotly pursued 
they were overtaken at their banqueting house, where they had 
just hung the harp upon the wall. This harp possessed magical 
properties, but its music was spell-bound until Daghda removed 
the charm. In olden times the poets, too, seem to have been 
mystic and extravagant in their expressions, for when one of 
" The children of Tuireann " had finished singing a poem before 
the King of Greece, his Hellenic Majesty is reported to have 
politely returned thanks in this wise : " That is a good poem, 
but that I do not understand a word of it." 

Bagpipes and harps were very general, and in many families 
both piper and harper were kept. 

The pipers of Sligo were numerous and celebrated, 
although it is probable that to a Scottish and not an Irish 
musician Sir Walter Scott, in his novel of "Woodstock," 
makes Charles II. (in the disguise of Master Kerneguy) allude, 
when he states that he was " making up for lost time, as the 
piper of Sligo said, when he ate a hail side o' mutton." 

The present " piper of Sligo " is an aged and blind man, 
who for nearly fifty years has been following his now un- 
remunerative vocation. 

One who possessed the talents of an improvisatore, and of a 
musician, was Carolan, who spent a great portion of his life in 
the counties of Eoscommon and Sligo, where he was a persona 
grata to several families, to whom are dedicated many pleasing 
productions of his muse. The country people accounted for 
Carolan's great skill in composition by alleging that he slept 
out at night on a rath, and on awakening used instantly to 
recite the fairy songs and melodies he had heard in his dreams. 

Terence Carolan was a native of county Meath ; he possessed 


a fair literary education, and pursued his studies until, in his 
eighteenth year, he had the misfortune to he stricken with the 
smallpox, and entirely lost his eyesight. Previous to this, music 
had not engaged his attention, but he turned to it as a solace in 
his misfortune. At the age of twenty-one he began to compose, 
and his first essays gave such promise of success that he was 
recommended to direct his talents to composition, rather than 
endeavour to attain excellence in musical execution. In the 
" Percy Anecdotes of Imagination " it is related that Carolan, 
even in his gayest mood, never could compose a planxty (a kind of 
dance music) for a Miss Brett, of the county Sligo. He was a 
frequent visitor at her father's house, where he always met with 
a cordial reception. One day, after an unsuccessful attempt to 
compose something in a sprightly strain for this lady, he threw 
aside his harp with a mixture of rage and grief, and addressing 
himself in Irish to her mother, " Madam," said he, "I have 
often, from my great regard to your family, attempted a planxty 
in order to celebrate your daughter's perfections, but to no pur* 
pose ; some evil genius hovers over me ; there is not a string in 
my harp that does not vibrate a melancholy sound when I set 
about the task. I fear she is not doomed to remain long among 
us: nay," said he, emphatically, "she will not survive twelve 
months." The event verified the prediction, and the young 
lady died within the period limited by the prophetic minstrel. 
This circumstance gave to Mrs. Hemans the idea evolved in 
her well-known poem of " Carolan's Prophecy." One of 
Carolan's songs, " Fair-Haired Mary," was composed in 
honour of Mary, daughter of MacDermot, Prince of Coolavin, 
then married to Owen O'Eourke, who lived on the shores of 
Lough Allen. " A person," relates James Hardiman in his 
" Irish Minstrelsy," " lately remonstrating with a descendant 
of this gentleman on his extravagance, amongst other things 
told him 'he ought to have sense.' * Sense,' replied the 
indignant Milesian. * Know that an O'Eourke scorns to have 
sense/ >: 

Caressed by the gentry, and living in the midst of plenty 
and good cheer, Carolan became a confirmed drunkard, lost the 

[To face page 398. 



use of his limbs by his intemperance, and during the latter 
years of his life passed almost his whole time in bed. He died 
at Alderford, in the year 1738, at a very advanced age, and 
was buried at Kilronan, in the county Eoscommon ; his bones, 
however, have, as is usual in many Irish cemeteries, been long 
ago dug up to make room for newer arrivals. His skull, placed 
in a niche within the walls of the old church, was distinguished 
by a black riband, and there it remained in grim and ghastly 
state for many years, until it was finally stolen by a collector of 

In Ireland, as a rule, there is too little regard to the sanctity 
which ought to surround the dead. The memory of those 
unpopular to the mass of the people is often even after death, 
which ought to shield from such attacks held up to opprobrium. 

A stranger lately visiting the north-west of Ireland was 
horrified at the state of the burying grounds in Sligo, and made 
many observations and suggestions much to the following 
effect : Burials, both in the Abbey and in St. John's Church- 
yard, should be prohibited and inter-mural interment prevented 
by public opinion, supported, if necessary, by legislative enact- 
ment. The Abbey grounds should be excavated, levelled, and 
the bones, skulls, and other fragmentary remains conveyed to 
the new cemetery, decently interred, and a monument erected 
over them to denote the fact, as has been done in other localities. 
The monuments and tombstones in the Abbey should be removed 
to the side walls, and the entire area converted into an orna- 
mental garden. The removal of a few houses along the river 
side would open up and improve the place, convert a neglected 
and pestilence-spreading grave-yard into ornamental and health- 
giving grounds. The Abbey proper might be guarded with 
iron gates; a similar arrangement has been made in other 
places so transformed. 

In olden days Sunday as a time devoted to repose or reli- 
gion terminated after mass, the residue of the day being occu- 
pied by ball-playing, cake-dancing, and other entertainments. 



A dance for a cake which in the eighteenth century was a 
favourite amusement, has been graphically described by Gabriel 
Beranger. He was attracted by a great crowd iu the neigh- 
bourhood of Grlencar, and went to see what had occasioned it. 
" The scene was pleasing ; gentlemen and ladies on horseback 
and on foot, being mixed with the country people, and forming 
a triple ring around the dancers, whilst a fellow standing on 
some bench or barrel held up a pole, at the end of which the 
cake was hung in a clean napkin, adorned with ribands to be 
given as a prize to the best performer." The cake, generally 
from eighteen to twenty inches in diameter, was placed on a 
circular board of somewhat greater breadth, elevated some six 
or eight feet high ; but it was more frequently fixed on an im- 
provised stand, *. e. on the top of a churn-dash, set upright in 
the ground. In spring and summer the cake was garnished 
with flowers, and in the autumn with apples, whilst a fiddler 
and piper alternately played jigs, reels, and planxties. At 
the termination of the meeting the cake was given to the best 
dancer, chosen, not from the elegance of style, but from the 
endurance of his performance. 

Lady Morgan, describing a " cake-dance " in the barony of 
Tireragh, states that in the year 1806 some few halfpence were 
always spared from the household purse to purchase the pleasures 
which the Sunday cake bestowed. In the centre of a field a 
distaff was fixed in the earth, on which was placed a large flat 
cake, and this cake became the reward of talent ; it was sometimes 
carried off by the best dancer and sometimes by the archest wag 
of the company. The young and old of both sexes for miles 
around the neighbourhood hastened to enjoy the festivity. At 
a little distance from the standard of revelry was placed its 
chief agent, the piper, who was always seated on the ground 
and near him was dug a hole into which contributions of the 
assembly were dropped. At the end of every jig, the piper 
was paid by the young man who danced it, and who endeavoured 
to enhance the value of the gift, by first bestowing it on his fair 
partner, and although a penny a jig was esteemed very good pay, 
yet the gallantry or ostentation of the contributor, anxious at 


once to appear generous in the eyes of his mistress, or to out- 
step the liberality of his rivals, sometimes trebled the sum which 
the piper usually received. It was rare to find an individual 
who had not for some time been under the tuition of a dancing 
master, but the profession of this elegant art by no means pro- 
hibited the adoption of any other. A carman who was sent for 
to convey some furniture to a neighbouring town, excused him- 
self, by saying that he was a dancing-master by trade, as well 
as a carman, and that his pupils were just then so numerous he 
could not possibly absent himself from them. 

In the year 1810, a writer on the customs of the county 
Sligo, states, that dancing was considered as a necessary 
accomplishment, and hundreds who did not know their alphabet 
or a word of English were regular attendants and at no small 
expense at the dancing schools. Singing old Irish songs made 
also a part of the entertainment, and many possessed sweet and 
melodious voices, well adapted to the melancholy and plaintive 
strains. In the beginning of the performance, things were con- 
ducted with propriety, but soon the scene exhibited a chaos of 
tumult, vociferation, and drunkenness ; perhaps three musicians 
might be found playing to as many sets of dancers, a dozen men 
and women singing different songs, whilst other groups were 
engaged in altercation and quarrelling. 

Amongst the upper classes also 1 dances were very frequent. 
No public gathering such as an assizes, a race meeting, or a re- 
gatta was considered complete without a ball in the evening; and 
there were in the town ladies in poor circumstances who seem 
to have made a regular business of getting up subscription 
dances, the names of the gentlemen who were to act as stewards 
being always announced : 

"Mrs. Isdell returns her most grateful thanks to her friends for 
their kind intention of honoring her with their presence at the first of 
her monthly subscription assemblies on Thursday, the 20th instant, but 

1 What would now be probably designated " fashionable intelligence " 
was, in 1777, styled " Bon-Ton-Intelligence " and early in the present 
century appeared under the heading of " The Polite Register." 



as she understands a drum is to be held on that night, which had been 
formerly on Tuesday (and it never being her desire to interfere with 
them), she is induced to postpone her first Assembly to Monday the 
24th, when she humbly hopes for a share of public favour. KB. 

stewards are appointed. 

" Sligo, July 13th, 1797." 

And again : 

"Mrs. M'Mullen, successor to Mrs. Milbank, begs leave to inform 
her friends and the public that she will hold a drum at the Grand 
Jury Koom, on Thursday, llth February, 1814, Captain Rutledge, 
6th Dragoon Guards, and John Ormsby, Esq., Stewards. Ladies' 
tickets 5*., Gentlemen's 7s. 6<." 

When a trip to Dublin was a rare event it naturally required 
more attention to provide local amusements, and Sligo, from, if 
not before, the year 1750, contained a theatre. The original 
building was near the quay ; it was subsequently moved to the 
vicinity of the Linen-Hall. " His Majesty's servants from the 
Theatre Eoyal, Crow-street," occasionally visited Sligo, even 
during the Dublin season, showing that in those days the towns- 
folk appreciated the drama, for in some instances the companv 
remained during several months. 

Mr. Owenson, father of the afterwards well-known Lady 
Morgan, was frequently before the Sligo public, and was, in 
his day, celebrated for his personification of Irish characters, 
and (says Sir Jonah Barrington) never did an actor exist 
so perfectly calculated to personify that singular class of 
people. " In what might be termed the middle class of Paddies, 
no man ever combined the look and the manner with such feel- 
ing as Owenson ... he sang well . . . but he was, like most of 
his profession, careless about his concerns, and he grew old with- 
out growing rich." His daughter, Sidney Owenson (Lady 
Morgan), lived for some time at the residence of the Crofton 
family. Her writings, however unattractive now, were popular 
in their day, and she made Longford House and its inhabitants, 
the subject of some of her novels. 

The Sligo theatre was (for the time) well lighted and fairly 
decorated. In the year 1826 there was a, fracas in the building 


between Dr. Carter and a Mr. M'Donogh, which terminated in 
the prosecution and conviction of the latter. At the trial the 
cross-examining counsel said that evidently the Doctor, on that 
night at least, had lost all his patience ! 

During a lengthened period Sligo possessed a local organ of 
public opinion which appears to have been Conservative in poli- 
tical tendency. The title of the newspaper was "The Sligo 
Journal and Weekly Advertiser." The first known series of 
this paper commenced in 1771, but it is probable there was an 
even earlier issue. It was printed on Tuesdays and Thursdays by 
Michael Parker, in Castle-street, price three half-pence, and the 
device on the heading of the paper (see fig. 62) served the Sligo 
Corporation, for many years, in lieu of a seal. The articles in 
the early numbers were very strongly worded, but as a rule they 
dealt in broad political facts, not in personalities, for in those 
days men who were held up to public ridicule or libelled, took 
the remedy into their own hands and relieved the law-courts 
of great trouble, by the substitution of " a small-sword for a 
declaration, or a case of pistols for a judgment." 

Difficulties arose occasionally, as for instance when on the 
14th May, 1791, an " Immergency " meeting of the Masonic 
body was called by Brother Thomas Soden, of Lodge No. 530, 
against Brother Michael Parker, proprietor of the " Sligo 
Journal," charging him with having published in his paper a 
letter tending to reflect upon Soden's conduct as "Billeting 
master for the town of Sligo "; whilst on the 5th February, 
1796, Brother William M'Mullen complained that Brother 
Joseph Hudson, had " advertised him for defamation of 

The Sligo newspaper varied greatly in size and also in price, 
the latter in 1785 had increased to 2d. ; in 1797 it was re- 
numbered, and the price raised to 2 Jo?. ; in 1799 the cost was 
4d. ; John Gray was then proprietor. In 1801 the paper again 
changed hands and was issued simply as " The Sligo Journal." 
The device at heading was altered to an oval enclosing the 
arms of Sligo surmounted with a crown : the legend, however, 



remained the same. Under the management of Mr. A. Bolton 
it became a bi-weekly organ, published on Wednesdays and 
Saturdays, price 5d. ; after some time the paper was issued once 
a- week and the price increased to 6d. ; later on its cost was 
again reduced. 

During the cholera of 1832, almost every member of the 
Bolton family was swept off by the fearful epidemic. The news- 
paper, however, continued to be published by the widow of the 
proprietor, and it lingered on until about the year 1860, having 
had a career of nearly one hundred years. 

"The Sligo Morning Herald, or Connaught Advertiser," 
appears to have been first issued in 1789, and it came to an end 
before the commencement of the present century. 

" The Western Luminary, or Sligo Impartial Eeporter " was 
started in 1823, by Eobert Hunter, and was Liberal in politics. 
A good many numbers of this paper are still extant ; it collapsed 
in 1829. Another newspaper was issued 9th October, of the 
same year, as an organ of the advanced Eoman Catholic party ; 
it was " printed and published by the proprietor, Hugh Mac- 
Sweeny, every Thursday at * The Observer ' office, Castle-street ; 
annual subscription one pound five shillings." 

" The Champion, or Sligo News " was launched in June, 
1836. The price, formerly 3d, is now 2d. It is published every 

In May, 1844, "The Cryptic" a comic and somewhat 
scurrilous weekly paper, was first issued price 2d. It existed 
about two years, having during that period held up most of the 
principal inhabitants of town and county to ridicule in a series 
of articles headed " Grallery of distinguished personages." The 
paper was printed at 5, Thomas-street for the proprietors, who 
were engaged in continuous litigation with those whom they 
had libelled. 

" The Sligo Guardian," first issued in 1848, had an ephe- 
meral existence, and was succeeded in 1849 by "The Sligo 
Chronicle," a Conservative weekly paper, price 3d. 

" The Sligo Independent " was commenced by the Messrs. 
G-illmor, September, 1855 as a Conservative organ. " The 

"J "rt 


Independent " was originally published twice a- week, but in 
May, 1856, it was converted into a weekly paper, and in 
January, 1889, the price was changed from 3d. to one penny ; 
this reduction has been the means of greatly increasing its 

" The Connaught Leader," price 2ct., a weekly paper in the 
Liberal interest, was started by Mr. James Stinson, October, 
1885, but it did not last long ; whilst " The Sligo Gazette and 
Western Advertiser," shortly afterwards launched by the same 
proprietor in January, 1888, had also a very brief existence. 

The Young Men's Christian Association issued a small 
monthly Magazine for about a year ; this has been succeeded 
by " The Western Eeview and Sligo Monthly," of which the 
first number appeared in August, 1890, price 2d. 

So early as 1747, there was in the town a public room, in 
which newspapers were kept, and in 1797 a regular newsroom 
is stated to have been long established. A circulating library 
was opened in the year 1828 ; in 1834 Inglis remarked that 
there were no fewer than three libraries, a public-subscription 
and two circulating-libraries ; these were the first he had seen 
between Limerick and Sligo. There are now news-rooms at 
the Town-Hall, the Constitutional and County Club, and also 
at the Protestant Hall. 

A poem entitled " The Alarm " appeared a few days after 
a scare that occurred in the town of Sligo, in May, 1797, 
consequent on a report that a numerous party of rebels were 
on the march to attack the place. The tumult and terror 
produced amongst the inhabitants is very wittily described ; the 
confusion continued during several hours, until it was discovered 
that no real cause of apprehension existed. The authorship 
of this once locally celebrated squib was never traced ; many 
persons were credited with it, but none of the " suspects " were 
really capable of its composition. Like " The Letters of Junius " 
the pen that produced it will never be known, and for this 
secrecy there was ample reason, as in case of the author reveal- 
ing his identity, he would have had duels on hands for the 
remainder of his term of life, every inhabitant of any note 



having been lampooned. The finale of the poem, in which is 
described the supposed origin of the scare is given as a specimen 
of the 137 stanzas contained in " The Alarm." 

" But soon as daylight did appear, 

A curious thing came out ; 
The ruffian pack of rebels who 

Occasioned such a rout, 
And all this racket raised, and kept 

The people from their sleep ; 
Turned out, oh wonderful to tell 

To \>Qaf,ock of sheep ! 

And now God bless and keep us safe, 

And everyone from harm, 
And guard our town from every true 

And every false alarm ; 
And may these rebel sheep who caused 

Such terror and dismay, 
Their lives to butchers for their crimes 

A speedy forfeit pay." 

The earliest record of Masonic Lodges in Sligo is of one 
founded in the year, 1788. Fig. 
63 is a representation of the seal 
of the Lodge. 

On St. John's Day the Masons 
of Sligo were in the habit of walk- 
ing in procession to St. John's 
Church, with all their insignia, 
and bearing the various emblems 
of their order. A sermon suitable 
to the occasion was delivered by 
the Minister after the service. 
The following is a description, 
given in 1825, of this annual procession : " At an early hour 
the principal streets were crowded, the windows filled with 
beauty and fashion, and the most intense anxiety displayed to 
witness the annual tribute of thanksgiving to that shrine, the 
fountain of brotherly love, from which the great principles of 

FIG. 63. Seal of Masonic Lodge. 


the Craft have emanated. At twelve o'clock the members of 
the different Lodges issued from their rooms dressed in the 
full insignia and bearing the different emblems of their order. 
The scene was highly interesting; the procession moved through 
the principal streets, and having reached the Church, .entered 
the portals in the usual form." 

An association styled " The Friendly Brothers " was insti- 
tuted by disbanded officers of William III.'s army; "Knots," 
many of which exist to the present day, were founded in several 
cities and towns as in London, Bath, Cork, Waterford, Dublin, 
Mallow, Sligo, &c. The " Knots" are alleged to have been 
originally formed for mutual support and aid against the Jaco- 
bites, who endeavoured to provoke personal quarrels and duels. 
The President was always known as " Sir Friendly . . . . " 
instead of by his Christian name. There was also an inner 
circle, known as " The Select," who were entitled to wear 
special badges. 

The association had a pew in St. Patrick's Cathedral, where 
service was attended on the 17th of March by the Brethren, 
wearing their decorations. In the club books in Dublin, the 
names are given of many members who acquired celebrity : 
Dean Swift (for a time at least) is reputed to have belonged to 
this order. In the club rooms, Dublin, Schomberg's sword is 
still preserved. The medal worn by the ordinary members is 
described in Dr. Frazer's Medalists of Ireland. This society 
was prominent in benevolent schemes, and frequently dis- 
charged the debts of poor prisoners confined in gaol. 

Beranger, when on his tour through the county Sligo, circa 
1779, makes mention of a curious incident in these words : 
" On the bridge (of Ballysadare) we were shown a stone on 
which a beggar used to sit constantly, who on receiving alms 
used to bestow on the giver a blessing which is become a 
famous toast under the name of * The Beggar's Benison,' ' 
being the expression of a wish that neither in person or purse 
should the individual fail. Thus it would seem that the 


Scottish Society of " The Beggar's Benison " instituted in 
Edinburgh, when similar societies were common for social 
intercourse, had an offshoot in the county. This social gathering 
commemorated (as alleged) a ludicrous episode in the life of 
James V. of Scotland, when travelling incognito in that country. 
A copy of an original diploma and a seal of the Society are 
still in existence. 

There were " Hell-fire " clubs in Sligo during the last cen- 
tury : one had its habitat at Ardnaglass, in Tireragh, the other 
in a large two-storied house on the old road leading from Sligo 
to Ballydrihed ; part of the edifice is yet standing. 

At the close of the last century there were public lotteries, 
and advertisements frequently appeared such as " Lottery office, 
licensed pursuant to Act of Parliament," all the supposed ad- 
vantages being set forth in large type, for the purpose of 
inducing the proverbial fool and his money to part company. 
Gambling then, as at present, was very general in the town ; it 
is even now no uncommon occurrence on a Sunday morning 
when returning from divine worship to see groups of men and 
boys engaged in pitch and toss, or some game presenting equal 
facilities for the change in ownership of probably a large 
portion of the gambler's hard-earned wages for the preceding 

"After prayers," says Lady Morgan in her Patriotic Sketches, 
" persons of both sexes and of all ages adjourn to the fields, to 
witness a hurling match, or some similar manly sport. The 
respective parties are drawn up like two little armies, and dis- 
tinguished from each other by their colours. Their goals are 

generally placed about 200 yards distant " Another 

game, the Cathu-clogh, or flinging of the stone, resembled the 
ancient Greek pastime of the discus. The candidate who panted 
for the fame of the virtues that are placed in nerve and bone 
took a stone of immense weight in his right hand, inclined his 
body a little forward, advanced one leg, poised his arm, and 


after two or three balancing motions, flung it from him to a 
considerable distance. These national amusements were not 
confined to the peasantry; the young gentlemen of the adjoining 
counties frequently engaged in them. 

Wrestling matches were also extremely frequent, and gene- 
rally performed with great skill and adroitness. 

Hurling large metal bullets along the high roads may be 
amusing to those engaged in the pastime, but is not agreeable 
to the casual passer-by, who has sometimes to display consi- 
derable activity in avoiding contact with the rapidly-moving 
projectile. Objection might be made to kite-flying, which is 
allowed on the roads and in the streets of Sligo. The only 
objectors to the practice appear to be young or timid horses. 

The game of football seems in the present day to have 
obtained a firm hold on the young men of Sligo, if the enthu- 
siasm with which they work up their practices be a criterion ; 
a good deal of the rough element, however, is sometimes intro- 
duced into matches, and in the season of 1890 a very serious 
accident occurred which resulted in the death of one of the 
players. There are several athletic associations in Sligo 
" The Hare and Hounds Club " being one of the longest in 
existence. There is also a bicycle club, some of whose mem- 
bers prefer racing along the footpaths to confining their exer- 
tions to the high road. 

In a well- sheltered nook on the north side of the road 
leading to Ardowen, a site for a lawn- tennis ground was taken 
on lease in 1881, and a large sum of money expended in laying 
out the courts, and erecting a pavilion and house for the care- 
taker. Here tournaments open to the whole kingdom are held 
yearly, and at that time the place, when thronged with fair 
athletes, presents a most animated appearance. 

A polo club first started in 1878 is now a well-established 
source of amusement for those who enjoy that sport. The 
ground where the members meet is most picturesquely situated 
in the demesne of Hazlewood. Of late the club has made for 


itself quite a reputation, having held its own with, and even 
beaten, some of the best teams that have entered the field 
against it. 

Owing to very severe winters being of rare occurrence in 
Sligo, skating is an amusement seldom to be enjoyed in per- 
fection. Although the surface of Lough Grill may have 
been frequently ice-bound, yet only a few instances have been 
authenticated, i. e. in 1435 (when the cold was so severe 
that " the people were enabled to travel over all the lakes 
and rivers of Ireland on the ice"), in 1688, 1855, and 1881. 
In the end of January of the latter year there was a frost 
which, in severity, had not been equalled for twenty-six years 
previously. There was a beautiful stretch of black ice extend- 
ing from Ardowen to Church Island ; and had not the surface 
of the upper portion of the lake been broken up by a violent 
storm, its entire area, extending to Shrifi, would have been 
converted into a gigantic skating rink for the inhabitants of 
Sligo. The scene was one likely to be long remembered by 
those who skated to Hollywell, Doonee, and Bunowna, over 
the smooth surface of the ice-bound lake, its wooded slopes 
looking beautiful in their frosty mantle. The mortality 
amongst the feathered tribe was great, and it was many years 
before the woods again resounded, as of yore, with the sweet 
song of thrush and blackbird. 

In the summer season there is an invasion of bathers 
commonly termed "sea-pikes" from the inland parts of 
the county and neighbouring districts, to the seaside villages. 
On Coney Island they sometimes amount, it is stated, to 400 in 
number. By the better classes, Mullaghmore, Rosses Point, 
and Enniscrone are greatly frequented. In his "Journey 
throughout Ireland," in 1834, Inglis thus alludes to the custom 
of summer-migration : " I was surprised to meet every few 
hundred yards on the road (i. e. from Boyle to Sligo) carts 
heavily laden with country-people, many of them of the lowest 
order, and with different articles of furniture piled up, or 


attached to the carts ; and I learned with some astonishment 
that all these individuals were on their way to sea-bathing. 
This is a universal practice over these parts of Ireland. A few 
weeks passed at the seaside is looked upon to be absolutely 
necessary for the preservation of health ; and persons of all 
classes migrate thither with their families. In my way to 
Boyle, I met upwards of twenty carts laden with women, 
children, and boys. One may ask how the people afford this 
annual expense? But there are numerous cabins and cottages at 
the lower end of Sligo, on the Bay, in which a room is hired 
at Is. 6d. per week ; this is almost the whole expense, for all 
carry with them besides their beds and an iron pot a quan- 
tity of meal, some sacks of potatoes, and even turf if there be 
room for it." 

The hot-air bath, or what would now be designated the 
Turkish-bath itself but a degenerate imitation of the luxurious 

FIG. 64. Sweat House, Inismurray. 

laconicum of ancient Greece and Imperial Eome was in com- 
mon use amongst the Irish, and in the county Sligo lingered on 
until the commencement of this century. On the first map 
made of the county several " sweat-houses" are marked. They 
were generally of beehive shape, about 6 feet in diameter, 
and 6 feet high, built of converging layers of uncemented 
stones, covered with clay, and having a low narrow entrance, 
resembling the remains of huts still to be seen in juxtaposition 
with cashels or early ecclesiastical buildings, such as the hut 
styled the Sweat-house at Inismurray. The manner of heating 


the chamber appears to have consisted in filling it with turf, 
igniting the fuel, and when consumed the ashes were cleared 
out, and as soon as the floor and sides of the interior of the con- 
struction had sufficiently cooled down the floor was strewed 
with green rushes, the person or persons intending to take the 
bath entered the heated chamber, and the door was closed by 
means of a temporary screen. This hot-air bath was much 
used, not only for pleasure but also as a cure for rheumatism, 
for which purpose it would seem to have been eminently 

In some cases it is stated that a pool of fresh water if in 
the immediate vicinity was utilized as a plunge-bath for the 
perspiring bather, who remained in the heated interior as long 
as practicable, would then cool himself in the water, and again 

The following quaint sketch, from the pen of Eev. William 
TJrwick, describes a well-known person. His eccentricities, and 
utopian plans have been pourtrayed also by other writers ; 
but none have delineated with more vivacity the ideas of 
Thaddeus better known as Thady Connellan : 

" While living in the West, I met 
A man, by some remembered yet, 
As quite a character, who set 
His heart on Erin's weal : he thought 
His countrymen could soon be taught 
To read, if but his scheme were brought 
To bear on them ; for that intent 
He would teach twelve. To that extent 
He might succeed what could prevent ? 
Let each of those twelve teach twelve others, 
Each of those twelve times twelve twelve others, 
And each in those twelve teach twelve others ; 
And so on moving rapidly 
Wide-spreading quite spontaneously, 
The work would prosper wondrously, 
Without the vast expenditure 
Which the Societies ' incur, 
For which they have not income sure. 


Thus would the Irish to a man, 

Upon the cheap and simple plan 

Of famed Thadd&us Connellan 

Be ahle soon to read God's hook, 

If of the learners none forsook, 

But did the work he undertook. 

* Thady ' had power for captivation, 

Had access to men high in station, 

Even to the Royal of the nation. 

But though he kind opinions won 

In several quarters, I know none 

Who said that he much good had done." 

Connellan was a native of Tireragh ; he had considerable 
natural talents and great ambition, possessed a fair classical 
education, and was a thorough Irish scholar. He started a 
small school, but did not succeed in his role of pedagogue. He 
had been a Roman Catholic, but like most converts on becoming 
a Protestant he embraced extreme views. Connellan derived 
his new religious opinions from Albert Blest a well-known and 
most zealous Baptist; and under him he worked for many 
years as a schoolmaster. Despite his abilities, his popularity 
amongst the gentry, and his many [theoretical] attempts at 
making money, which, however, never practically succeeded, he 
died in great poverty. 

In the eighteenth century education was in a very neglected 
state. Except at " hedge schools " there was no means of in- 
struction for the poor ; and in the entire county there were but 
three or four schools suited for the better class of farmers and 

On the southern slope of Knocknarea, about four miles from 
the town of Sligo, is situated Primrose- Grange Boarding School, 
an establishment endowed for educational purposes. It origi- 
nated so far back as 1721, in a grant from the Eev. Edward 
Nicholson of house and lands for the maintenance of a good 
English school, combined with a sound scriptural education 
" according to the principles of the United Church of England 
and Ireland." The science and practice of agriculture were 
also to be included in the curriculum. About the year 1733 


this grant was supplemented by a bequest from Adam Ormsby. 
The endowment, having got into a state* of inefficiency, was 
in 1849, on the recommendation of the Bishop of the diocese, 
conveyed to " The Incorporated Society " in Dublin, created by 
Koyal charter in 1733, "for promoting English Protestant 
Schools in Ireland." 

During some years the society maintained at Primrose- 
Grange an English school, in conjunction with an agricultural 
department, but the latter proving unsuccessful, was abolished 
about the year 1860, and the institution has since been con- 
ducted on the same principles as the other boarding schools of 
the society. Formerly the instruction imparted in these schools 
was quite elementary. Now, however, the education is of an 
advanced character, being chiefly mathematical; of this, the 
Inspector of the Koyal Commission of 1878 reports that the 
mathematical teaching is excellent. 

A glance at the results-lists of the examination of interme- 
diate schools in religious knowledge held annually by the 
Board of Eeligious Education of the General Synod of the 
Church of Ireland will show the marked success of the pupils 
of these schools in this important branch of education. Although 
the Incorporated Society only recognises the teaching of English, 
mathematics, and religious knowledge, yet provision has been 
made by the masters for instruction in classics, French, &c., and 
in these subjects pupils have also been successful. 

The number of pupils maintained and educated on the 
Foundation at Primrose- Grange is generally twelve. Four 
vacancies occur each year, and to fill these a public examina- 
tion is held annually in Sligo about the month of July, by a 
deputation from the Incorporated Society. The subjects of 
examination consist of portions of the Old and New Testament, 
Church formularies, reading, writing, English grammar, geo- 
graphy, and arithmetic. Candidates must be of a prescribed 
age, and must produce a certificate of birth, good conduct, resi- 
dence, and suitability, as to pecuniary means, from the parochial 
clergymen, as well as a certificate of good health from a medical 


The districts privileged to send forward candidates are the 
diocese of Deny, Eaphoe, Killala, Achomy, theLeitrim portion 
of the diocese of Kilmore, the Sligo and Mayo portions of 
the diocese of Elphin, and the Leitrim, Sligo, and Eoscommon 
portions of the diocese of Ardagh. The best answerers are 
elected, in the first instance for one year, but unless removed 
for misconduct, or on account of serious failure in health, may 
have their scholarship extended for three years, at the expiration 
of which period they are (if recommended by the master) 
eligible to compete for a further scholarship in Santry School, 
near Dublin, where they are afforded an opportunity of 
continuing and extending their studies. 

In addition to the pupils elected on the Foundation, a 
limited number of " pay-boarders " are received on moderate 

The Eev. Thomas Valentine, appointed in 1711, vicar of the 
parishes of Castleconor and Kilglass then designated the 
Union of Frankfort bequeathed in his will, dated the 10th 
September, 1763, a sum of money towards the endowment of a 
school in his parish for the children of Protestant parents, in 
terms following : " I do hereby give and bequeath the sum of 
600 sterling, for the support and maintenance of the dis- 
tressed widows of the clergy of the diocese of Killala and 
Achonry; secondly, I give and bequeath the sum of 400 
sterling towards the institution of a Protestant charity-school, 
and for putting out a few of the Protestant apprentices to 
trades, which school I order to be erected within the Union 
of Frankfort." The Bishop of Killala and the Vicar of 
Frankfort, for the time being, were appointed trustees. 

The school was first started on a very small scale ; for on 
the 17th August, 1768, an entry in the accounts is as follows : 
" One year's rent for a cabin for a school, 2 5s. 6d." 

The original donation is now in the hands of the Charitable 
Bequest Commissioners, and has gradually augmented ; in 18S5 
it amounted to 1500 ; in 1888 to 2500. 

Since the Union of Frankfort was dissolved the interest on 



the principal sum is divided amongst four schools, the money 
being payable to the Bishop of Killala. It produces a net 
yearly income of about 75, which is apportioned in equal 
shares between the parishes of Castleconor and Kilglass. 

Charter Schools were established about the year 1733, but 
the one in Sligo was not commenced until 1752, for Dr. Pococke, 
who (in a MS. in T.C.D.) describes his Irish tour during the 
above-named year, states that he " went two small miles to see 
Colonel Wynne's House on Lough Gilley, and on the way 
viewed the Charter School which is building out of Erasmus 
Smith's charity ; there are three good rooms on a floor, a 
kitchen, and two schools being built for sixty children. The 
governors of Erasmus Smith's Schools gave first 500, then 
200, and Colonel Wynne gave 4 acres of ground for ever. 
They have raised it to the first floor ; it is built of slaty lime- 

The old Charter School or Erasmus Smith Trust supplied a 
plain education, i. e. reading, writing, and arithmetic ; the boys 
were boarded in the house and taught trades ; there were rows 
of houses where tradesmen were kept to instruct in tailoring, 
shoemaking, &c., but this arrangement was given up on the 
passing of a measure for the establishment of national educa- 
tion. The rental of the Erasmus Smith Trust in the county 
Sligo was about 430 per annum, consisting of 2132 acres, 
with a Poor Law valuation of 408. 

The number to be admitted at any one time was limited to 
80 ; the Charter School was discontinued in 1833, and replaced 
by a day-school, which was finally closed in 1843. The building 
was subsequently utilized during the famine of 1846-8 as a 
workhouse and hospital, was afterwards used as a barrack, 
and is now occupied as a boarding and day-school. 

In 1780 the Eev. James Neligan and the Rev. Peter Ber- 
mingham had each a school in Ardnaree, but one kept by the 
r. J. Armstrong j n the town of Sligo was the best known. 
Schools wore kept by Mr. Clifford and Mr. Clark, also one 



for young ladies by Mrs. Huston. In 1814 a Sligo female 
school was founded for the gratuitous education of the poor ; 
up to the close of 1821 it had been the means of providing 
education for " upwards of 700 poor girls, and at the same 
time afforded them instruction in those useful employments 
suited to their situation in life." There were also a few schools 
scattered through the country, supported by "The Associa- 
tion for Discountenancing Vice," as also by the " London 
Hibernian Society." Hedge schools were fairly numerous, 
and were attended by very young children, who could be of 
little assistance to their parents at agricultural work; when 
more advanced in years they were generally withdrawn from 
instruction to give help on the farm. 

"The Endowed Schools Commission" of 1855 gave an 
unfavourable report of the manner in which education was 
conducted. Calry and Ballinorley schools were satisfactory ; 
at Dromard, Drum, Drumcliff, Muinanean, Easky, and Killeen- 
duff the latter founded by Colonel Irwin there were schools 
with a fair attendance. 

Several applications had been from time to time made for 
the establishment of a " Model School " in Sligo. The Town 
Council petitioned the Commissioners of National Education 
on the subject, and finally their request was granted. The 
building, which consists of a central block and two wings, was 
not completed until 1862. It is of Italian character ; the win- 
dows are circular-headed, and deeply recessed, with moulded 
jambs. The mason work is of limestone, and the dressings are 
of Mount-Charles sandstone. The edifice cost about 7000. At 
the close of the year 1888 the number of boys on the roll of 
the school was 163 Church of Ireland, 34 Presbyterians, 83 
of other denominations, and 16 Eoman Catholics, forming a total 
of 296. The average daily attendance was 158. 

The National School system has, to a great extent, spread 
education of a primary description amongst the lower classes. 

2 E 


In 1821 there were in the county 8865 children attending 
school 7959 in 1841 ; 9047 in 1851 ; 10,477 in 1871 ; 12,891 
in 1881. On the 31st December, 1888, there were on the rolls 
of the National Schools in the county 23,511 children, of whom 
21,827 were Eoman Catholics, 1422 Church of Ireland, 139 
Presbyterians, and 123 of other denominations. 

The proportion per cent, of the population, 5 years old and 
upwards who could neither read nor write, was 68*7 in 1841 ; 
63-3 in 1851; 53'2 in 1861; 506 in 1871; 38'9 in 1881. 
The foregoing information is from official census returns, but 
when tried by a practical standard, the result is far from being 
satisfactory. At the election of a member for North Sligo in 
1885, 1070 persons out of a total poll of 5988 declared them- 
selves to be illiterate; whilst in 1891, 1783 voters out of a 
poll of 5754, by their own acknowledgment, were unable either 
to read or write. 

In the year 1861 there were 3466 persons in the county 
who could speak only Irish ; there were 2326 in 1871, and but 
472 in 1881. The number of those who can speak both Irish 
and English has been on the increase, but here it is thought that 
the statistics may be misleading. Probably a number of those 
who enter themselves in the census returns as Irish scholars 
would be totally unable to carry on, or even understand a 
conversation in that tongue ; 49,228 persons in the county were 
in 1851 acquainted with both Irish and English, 36,263 in the 
year 1861, 24,263 in 1871, and 31,458 in 1881. 

In 1861 there were in the county 112,436 Eoman Catholics ; 
10,438 members of the Church of Ireland; 931 Presbyterians ; 
778 Methodists, and 260 of other denominations. 

In 1871 there were 104,429 Eoman Catholics, 9185 members 
of the Church of Ireland ; 864 Presbyterians ; 680 Methodists, 
and 335 of other denominations. 

In 1881 there were 101,483 Eoman Catholics, 8,213 
members of the Church of Ireland, 881 Presbyterians, 641 
Methodists, and 359 of other denominations. 


In the Borough of Sligo the Eoman Catholic population 
increased from 8220 in the year 1871 to 8567 in 1881 ; the 
members of the Church of Ireland decreased from 1712 in 1871, 
to 1473 in 1881 ; the Presbyterians from 304 in 1871 to 267 in 
1881 ; the Methodists from 225 in 1871 to 218 in 1881, whilst 
there was an increase in other religious denominations from 209 
to 263. The diminution in numbers amongst the Protestant 
population is to be entirely attributed to emigration. 

When in 1869 the Church of Ireland was disestablished 
and disendowed, it was feared by many that her existence and 
permanency would within a very measurable period be seriously 
affected. But in every one of the parishes of the county Sligo, 
services have been regularly maintained, no church has been 
even temporarily closed, resident ministers are settled in each 
district, day and Sunday schools flourish under lay and clerical 
superintendence, charitable societies are liberally supported, and 
more general interest is shown in all parochial organizations, 
whilst the sacred edifices themselves are well cared, and in a large 
number, restorations and improvements have been made. 
























By the term " Titulado" is supposed to be meant a person claim- 
ing to be entitled to land, but whose claim, not having been decided 
on, was thereby rendered titular in point of fact. 

The following were the "Titulados" in the County Sligo taken 
from the census of 1659 : 


Town of Sligo. Humphry Booth, Thomas Roland, Henry 

Parish of Ahamlish. Thomas Sodgn. Philip Sulevane. 

Parish of Drumcliff. -Uharies Uolles, Roger Parke, Thomas 
Griffith, Anthony Ormsby, Thomas Osborne, William Tod, Henry 
Nicholson, Thomas Ormsby, Manus Lenaghan. 


Parish of Castleconor. John Nicholson, Lewis Wingfield. 

Parish of Kilglass. Thomas Wood, John Moore. 

Parish of Easky. William Ormsby, William Boswell, James 
Ormsby, George Ormsby. 

Parish of Kilmacshalgan. John Burke, Robert Hillas, William 
Edwards, John Irwin. 

Parish of Templeboy. Christopher Armstronge, Nicholas Rutledge. 

Parish of Skreen. Lewis Jones, Jeremy Jones. 

Parish of Dromard. Henry Crofton, John Irving, Edward Irving. 


Parish of Ballysadare. Richard Coote, Morgan Farrell, John 
Perchy, Edward Cooper. 

Parish of Eilross. Thomas Crofton. 

Parishes of Drumcolumb and Kilmacallan. William Mortimer, 
Ralph Carter, John Ferguson, Charles Cartwright, Archy Naper, 
Edward Nicholson. 

Parish of Aghanagh. Henry Hughes. 

Parish of Kilmactranny . Henry Ellis. 




Parish of Emlaghfad. William Webb, Erancis King. 

Parish of Cloonoghill. Timothy Howes. 

Parish of Kilshalvy. Richard Meredith. 

Parish of Xilmorgan. John Duke, Robert Duke, John Geale, 
Donnell Conellan, John Clifford, Edward Tibb, Henry Bicraft (or 
Ricraft), John Houlder. 

Parish of Toomour. Robert King. 


Parish of Achonry. Captain Edward Wood, Edward Poole, 
Thomas Rosevill. 

Parish of Kilfree. Henry Clifford. 



Armstronge, Frances, widow, Bochane, 17 13s. 3d. ; Armstronge, 
James, Rathosey, 7 11s. 4d. ; Armstronge, James, Dunnahentra, 
3 ; Armstronge, John, Ballymehy, 9 ; Armstronge, John, Rathosey, 
6 Os. 3d. ; Armstronge, John, Tullymire, 17 Is. 3d. ; Armstronge, 
Robert, Oughal, 36 5s. lid. ; Atkinson, Henry, Cabragh, 9 16s. 5%d. ; 
Atkinson, John, Cabragh, 9 ; Atkinson, John, Dooneen, 7 Os. 6d. ; 
Atkinson, Robert, Ballybeg, 48 18s. IQd. ; Atkinson, Robert, Easkey, 
102 12s. 4d. ; Atkinson, Thomas, Lacken, 9 9s.; Atkinson, 
William, Cabragh, 22 12s. 4d. 

Beatty, Charles, Lugdoon, 9 ; Beolan, Erancis, Tully, 6 10s. ; 
Bourke, David, Culleens, 22 18s. ; Bourns, Andrew, Scurmore, 
7 lls. 2d. ; Bourns, Margaret, Dooneen, 7 2s Ad. ; Bourns, Matthew, 
Scurmore, 9; Bourns, Sarah, Scurmore, 9 17s. 6^.; Brennan, 
Martin, Knocktubber, 6 16s. 6d. ; Broder, Robert, Cloonsallagh, 
12 10s. 3tf. ; Brown, John, Finned, 12 16s. Id. ; Burnes, William, 
Park, 3 17s. 2rf. 

Caffry, John, Leaffoney, 22 ; Carrol, Thomas, Ardnaree, 59 ; 
Church, Thomas, Coolany, 22 10s. 3d. ; Clarke, Thomas, Ardabron, 


3 16s. 5d.; Conelly, James, Collooney, 20; Conelly, John, 
Ballymeeny, 11 13s. 2d. Conelly, John, Collooney, 7*7s. Qd. ; 
Conboy, William, Ballintogher, 17; Coulter, Patrick, Ballinfull,' 
10 16s. \\d. ; Craven, John, Woodfield, 10 4s. 9d. 

Dodd, Rev. Isaac, Kingsfort, 9 16s. 4d. ; Dodd, Rev. Oliver, 
Kingsfort, 27 15s. 9%'d. ; Dodwell, Roger, Esq., 79 10s. ; Dogherty, 
"Winifred, Collooney, 3 19s. 1^.; Dunbar, Mary, Dooneen, 14 10s.; 
Dunken, John, Pollabracka, 3 3s. 3d. ; Evans, William, Cunghill' 
7 19s. 3d. 

Farrell, Mary, Collooney, 18 ; Fawcet, Henry, Park, 18 13s. 5d. ; 
Fawcet, James, Dunahantra, 17 ; Fawcet, John, Park, 4 13s. Id. ; 
Fawcet, John, Quiguboy, 6 7s. Id. ; Fawcet, Thomas, Finned, 92 ; 
Fenton, Abraham, Dromore, 63 15s. Sd. ; Fenton, William, Dromore, 
7 8s. 4d. ; Ferguson, Andrew, Leaffoney, 2 16s. Wd. ; Ferguson, 
James, Rathurlesh, 9 3s. 4d. ; Finan, John, Ardnaree, 2 ; 
Fitzpatrick, Samuel, Iceford, 5 17s. 9d. ; Flannelly, William, 
Kilrusheighter, 6 ; Foster, William, Collooney, 37. 

Giblin, Matthew, Carrowdurneen, 1 15s. ; Gilgan, Thomas, 
Fortland, 5 13s. 9d. ; Ginly, James, Tourneens, 4 12s. Sd. ; 
Glochane, Patrick, Rathmeel, 4 11s. Sd. ; Greer, Bridget, Dooneen, 
15 ; Greer, James, Dooneen, 5 12s. Id. ; Greer, Robert, Dooneen, 
9 7s. 2d. ; Grove, John, Carrowcar, 19 4s. 9d. 

Hamilton, William, 85 16s. Sd. ; Harrison, William, Frenchford, 
7 18s.; Hart, James, Ballygrahan, 3; Higgins, W., Carrowdur- 
nan, 5 ; Hill, Francis, Carrownapull, 3 8s. 3d. ; Hopps, William, 
Collooney, 30. 

Joint, Margaret, Bally glass, 89 11s. 

Kean, Bartholomew, Ardnaree, 13 8s. 3^. ; Kearan, Henry, 
Frankford, 72 5s. Qd. ; Keary, Anthony, Stockane, 17 17s. 6d. ; 
Keary, Owen, Teretick, 4 ; Keary, Thomas, Knockowen, 9 7s. 6d. ; 
Kirkwood, Francis, Killala, 41 17s. ; Kivleghan, Joseph, French- 
ford, 6; Kivleghan, Patrick, Frenchford, 11 16s. 6^.; Kivleghan, 
Robert, Collooney, 4. 

Lewis, Arthur, Easkey, 9 ; Long, Francis, Ballynagraugh, 
3 8s. 3d. ; Low, John, Collooney, 31 12s. ; Lynn, Elinor, Finid, 
2 16s. 10H 

Maccarrick, Thomas, Collaney, 3 ; Maccleery, William, 4 18s. 4d. ; 
MacKeal, Patrick, Jr., Eewtown, 8 6s. 10^. ; MacKeal, Patrick, 
Sr., Newtown, 17 19s. 2%d. ; Mackim, James, Grangemore, 
11 11s. 9^.; Mackim, Daniel, Ballykilcash, 3 12s.; Mackim, 
Robert, Collooney, 72 19s. 10^.; Magee, William, Ballyglass, 
12 4s. ; Maguire, Charles, Ballintogher, 1 10s. 6d. ; Mallon, 
Margaret, Kileeiiduff, 18 4s. ; Martin, James, Ardnaree, 6 8s. 4d. ; 



Martin, Jacob, Keighroe, 16 8s. 3d. ; Martin, Thomas, Dunmoran, 
122 12s.; Mayle, William, Ardnaree, 17; Meredith, Henry, Tub- 
bercurry, 17 ; Moore, John, Ardnaree, 4 19s. 9d. ; Moore, Patrick, 
Corkhill, 80 ; Morgan, Erancis, Corranrush, 8 15s. 9d. ; Morrison, 
George, Carrowreagh, 3 7s. 6d. ; Morton, Henry, Ardnaree, 36 ; 
Morton, James, Pullaheeney, 135 17s. 5d. ; Mullarkey, Patrick, 
Ballynagraugh, 6 ; Mulveagh, John, 2 ; Murray, John, Ardna- 
ree, 20. 

Naney, John, Ballynagraugh, 4 ; Nicholson, William, Ardnaree, 
5 2s. 4$d. 

Ormsby, Charles, Ardnaree, 77 10s. 4d. ; Ormsby, Elizabeth, 
Coolaney, 62 8s. 8d. ; Ormsby, John, Ballymeeny, 4 ; Ormsby, 
Mary, 2. 

Powel, Adam, Loughborough, 20 ; Power, William, Ardnaree, 
4 6s. I0$d. 

Quinn, James, Ballynagraugh, 4 16s. 

Eeed, George, Ardnaree, 46 19s. 5d. ; Eeed, Eobert, Ardnasbrack, 
5 3s. ; Kobinson, Thomas, Cloonageen, 45 10s. ; Eutledge, Anne, 
93 14s. lO^d. ; Eutledge, Peter, Knockahullen, 9 2s. ; Eutledge, 
Thomas, Knockacullen, 16 3s. Sd. 

Scott, James, Carrowdurneen, 8 18s. 6d. ; Scott, John, Bally- 
holan, 127 3s. 7%d. ; Scott, John, Jr., Carrowdurneen, 14 Is. 4d. ; 
Scott, Michael, Doonowla, 5 18s. 3d. ; Scott, Thomas, Ardnaglass, 
9 4s.; Shannon, James, Carrowpardan, 1 19s. 4%d. ; Shannon, 
John, Forgetown, 2 8s. ; Shannon, Matthew, Eorgetown, 5 10s. ; 
Shannon, Thomas, 3 8s. 3d. ; Shaw, James, Grangemore, 17 Is. ; 
Simpson, James, Tullaghan, 28 ; Smith, George, Carrowhubbock, 
46 3s. ; Smith, John, Quiguboy, 48 5s. 7%d. Smyth, James, 
Lackencahill, 84 18s. 4d. ; Smyth, Eichard, Park, 8 13s. 10^. ; 
Smyth, Eobert, 34 19s. 4& ; Smyth, Eoger, 96 17s. 9<Z. ; Steen, 
Arthur, Scurmore, 11 ; Stokes, George, Coolnacur, 12 3s. 9d. ; 
Strain, John, Quiguboy, 10 12s. ; Strong, Thomas, Ardaboley, 
17 12*. Sd. 

Thompson, John, Killoran, 7 5s. ; Tully, Elizabeth, Ardnaree, 

Walker, James, Cartron, 29 11s. lld. ; Wallace, Edward, 
Easkey, 27 ; Wallace, James, Ballymeeny, 13 2s. 9^. ; Walsh, 
Eichard, Scurmore, 29 11s. 2d. ; Walton, Nathaniel, Iceford, 25; 
Walton, Eobert, Quignashee, 49 11s. 10^.; White, Matthew, 
Larkhill, 9 Is. 3fcf. ; White, William, Woodfield, 30 ; Williams, 
Ingram, Altitaleere, 6 16s. 6d. ; Williams, Michael, Coray, 
27 10s. 3<Z. ; Wilson, Adam, Carrowreagh, 3 14s. 7d. ; Wilson, 
Joseph, Carrowreagh, 1 15s. 7d. ; Wood, Charles, Esq., Chapelfield, 


158 12s. ; Wood, James, Esq., 1 Leekfield, 26 17s. 7d. ; Wood, 
William, Sligo, 92 11s. ; Wright, George, Dooneen, 7 11s. '2d. 



Hon. Colonel, Lieut.-General His Eoyal Highness Arthur William 
Patrick Albert, Duke of Connaught and Strathearn, K.G., K.T., 
K.P., G.C.S.I., G.C.M.G., G.C.I.E., K.C.B., A.D.C., June, 1891. 

Colonels. Eight Hon. H. King, 25 April, 1793 ; J. Irwin, 4 June, 
1807 ; F. A. Knox Gore, 37 Jan., 1847. 

Lieutenant- Colonels. -J. E. Cooper, 31 March, 1795; R. Parke, 
20 July, 1803; A. Perceval, 12 April, 1809 ; J. F. Knox, 16 June, 
1855; G. A. J. M'Clintock, 15 March, 1856; C. J. Knox Gore, 31 
May, 1861 (Hon. Colonel] ; M. D. P. Stronge, 18 July, 1876 (Hon. 
Colonel) ; E. S. Ormsby, 1 Nov., 1879 (Hon. Colonel} ; W. G. Wood- 
Martin, 21 April, 1883 (Hon. Colonel). 

Majors. C. K. O'Hara, 23 July, 1807 ; Sir J. Crofton, 12 April, 
1829; J. Ffolliott, 16 March, 1856; C. B. Wynne, 27 Oct., 1879; 
J. Campbell, 9 June, 1883. 

Captains. R. Lindsay, 13 May, 1801 ; J. Tyler, 21 May, 1803; W. 
Lindsay, 18 Aug., 1803 ; E. Powell, 1 Dec., 1803 ; J. Jones, 26 April, 
1804 ; W. Furey, 30 Sept., 1805 ; W. O'Beirne, 22 Sept., 1814 ; E. J. 
Cooper, 24 June, 1819 ; J. Ffolliott, 25 July, 1826 ; E. L. Neynoe, 4 
July, 1828; E.Jones, 10 June, 1839; J.Jones, l7Dec., 1841 ; E. Ormsby, 
19 May, 1846 ; F. E. Knox, 6 May, 1848 ; James Wood, 12 Sept., 
1848 ; H. B. Crofton, 24 Feb., 1855 ; L. G. Jones, 17 Sept., 1855; 

1 James Wood originally claimed a much larger amount, i.e. 98 17s. Id. 
The reason for his withdrawing part of the claim is explained by the evi- 
dence before the Court : 

" Sligo, Thursday, Nov. the 28th, 1799. Eead, the claim of James 
Wood, Esq., of Leekfield, and Ex d . him on oath. Swears he claimed for 
eight fatt cowes, which he drove from off a park of Mr. Browne, in pur- 
suance of an order from General Lake : he made use of some for the army, 
and the others were taken by the army. He claimed because the owner, 
Mr. Scott, threatened to sue him for them. Mr. Scott has been all d . in his 
claim for these cows (72), so he dont now claim for them." 


J. Gethin, 15 March, 1856; F. Knox, 20 Dec., 1860; J. Ormsby, 

7 June, 1861 ; J. S. Knox, 9 April, 1867 ; 0. Wynne, 18 Feb., 1871 ; 
G. Gethin, 12 April, 1871 ; W. Griffith, 22 Jan., 1874; J. D. Robin- 
son, 23 July, 1880 ; C. J. Holroyde, 5 April, 1883 ; A. E. H. Moore, 
15 Aug., 1883; J. C. Beamish, 3 May, 1884; M. B. Armstronge, 
13 March, 1886 ; A. W. W. Croft, 28 July, 1888 ; W. H. C. Grattan, 
5 March, 1890 ; E. W. G. Hillas, 18 July, 1891. 

Lieutenants. W . Clarke, 23 July, 1798 ; T.Trumble, 13 May, 1801 ; 
R. Jones, 25 Oct., 1803; E. Harloe, 20 Sept., 1805 ; J. Burrows, 20 Feb., 
1806 ; G. Powell, 3 May, 1806 ; T. P. Jones, 24 June, 1807 ; J. 
Jones, 24 May, 1808; W. Dennes, 19 April, 1808; John "Wood, 30 
June, 1808; W. Carter, 16 May, 1809; H. Irwin, 16 May, 1809; 
B. FitzGerald, 23 March, 1812 ; W. Atkinson, 13 Dec., 1812 ; V. Jones, 

8 May, 1813: H. Knott, 6 Jan., 1814; S. Barrett, 10 June, 1839; 
R. Wood, 11 June, 1839; G. Martin, 6 May, 1849; J. Parke, 31 
May, 1855; W. H. L. Gethin, 19 July, 1855; R. D. Robinson, 5 
Nov., 1855 ; F. Farrell, 15 March, 1856 ; D. Paton, 31 March, 1856 ; 
E. T. Lindsay, 12 Oct., 1857 ; W. A. Baker, 29 July, 1858 ; R. B. 
Knott, 18 July, 1859; J. Duke, 12 June, 1861; H. Williams, 12 
June, 1861 ; T. L. Robinson, 12 July, 1861 ; H. R. Robinson, 12 
April, 1871 ; J. F. W. Walker, 20 July, 1871 ; W. T. Yernon, 6 Nov., 
1871 ; A. Perceval, 22 Nov., 1876 ; F. B. Knight, 13 May, 1889. 

Ensigns. F. P. Clarke, 16 May, 1809 ; R. Wood, 27 May, 1811 ; 
S. 0. Goodwin, 15 July, 1812 ; W. Carey, 13 Dec., 1812 ; J. Phibbs, 12 
March, 1813; C. Atkinson, 13 Dec., 1813; W. J. Bourke, 11 May, 
1814; J. Ormsby, 11 May, 1814; W. Ormsby, 18 June, 1839; R. 
Palmer, 29 June, 1839 ; C. T. Gilmour^LJu^ 1839: D. Nicholson, 
2 Feb., 1855; F. Farrell, 22 March, 1855 ;' P., Shuttleworth, 22 
March, 1855; W. Savage, 5 Nov., 1855; E, t. Lindsay, 4 Oct., 
1856 ; R. A. Mostyn, 16 Jan., 1857 ; G. D^drmsby, 11 June, 1859. 

Sul-LieutenantsK. A. Parke, 18 Jurfe, 1874 ; M. E. M. O'Leary, 
2 June, 1875; H. R. L. Holden, 23XJune, 1875; C. K. O'Hara, 13 
Feb., 1878 ; W. L. Sheane, 18 May; 1880 ; W. Mills, 19 July, 1881 ; 
C. S. M'Dermot, 20 Oct., 1883. / 

2nd Lieutenants. K. Q'^ullivan, 4 April. 1887 ; A. H. W. Saun- 
ders, 26 March, 1889 :/E. G. Bromhead, 8 Nov., 1889; C. T. K. 
Webber, 7 Dec., 188^f 0. L. Phibbs, 5 March, 1890 ; F. M. Gaskill, 
21 August, 1891 ./ 

Adjutants.-^. Goodwin, 10 July, 1798; H. Faucett, 25 May, 1821 ; 
T. Ormsby,^ April, 1846 ; G. A. J. M'Clintock, 2 Feb., 1855 ; M. D. 
P. Strong 21 July, 1855 ; H. G. Bowen, 7 July, 1875 (Copt. 88*A 

Nfc^bvexL UA^O^V^CX^ 
\ & i 



Regt,) ; G. Phibbs, 15 Dec., 1875 (Copt. Stth R. I. F.) ; C. F. Dixon, 
May, IS77 (Capt. R. A.}-, Sir C. Larcom, Bart., 1 April, 1879 
(Major R. A.) ; H. P. Russell, 1 July, 1884 (Copt. R. A.) ; ff Max- 
well, 9 March, 1885 (Copt. R.A.)-, M. M. Morris, 18 August, 1890 
(Copt. R. A.}. 

Surgeon-Major. T. D. Palmer, March, 1885. 

Surgeons. 3. Faucett, 15 July, 1793 ; J. J. Ferguson, 21 March, 
1812; H. Irwin, 22 Sept., 1817; T. E. Lindsay, 3 Jan., 1846; J. 
Faucett, 18 Jan., 1855 ; J. Tucker, 12 June, 1872. 

Surgeon's Mate or Assistant- Surgeons. J. Faucett, 15 July, 1793 ; 
R. Johnston, 10 April, 1804; Gr. Smith, 5 Aug., 1807 ; J. M'Nair, 20 
Dec., 1819 ; R. W. Faucett, 5 Feb., 1855. 

Quartermasters. R. Ormsby, 19 Dec., 1795 ; A. B. Cooper, 5 
April, 1798; C.Jones, 1 Nov., 1798; J. Burrows, 22 Aug., 1803; 
W. Savage, 2 Feb., 1855. 

Paymasters. R. Ormsby, 1 April, 1798 ; R. Ormsby, 10 May, 
1826 ; A. H. Knox, 2 Feb., 1855. 




(Chap. 3, Stat. 3, 4, Philip and Mary, renewed 11 Elizabeth, chap. 9. 
Sir Henry Sidney, Lord Deputy of Ireland in 1565, by virtue of 
the first of these Acts constituted Sligo a County.^) 




1585, April, 

. Sir Valentine Browne, Knt., 

Ross Castle, Kerry. 

. John Crof ton, Esq., 

Lissedune, Roscom- 

John Marbury, Esq. 


1613, April, 

. Thady O'Hara, Esq., . 


)> > 

. Bryan M'Donough, Esq., 



. (No Parliament held in Ireland. 

1 The Commission to form Connaught into shire-land would not appeal 
to have been sped until April 12, Elizabeth (1570), returnable before 
September 30 (vide Fiant, 1525, Elizabeth). 


Date. Name. Residence. 

1634, April, . Sir George Radcliffe, Knt., . Rathmines, Dublin. 
,, . Theobald Taafe, . . . Ballymote. 

(A MS. in the British Museum 

Teige O'Connor, Esq., Sligo. 

Farrall O'Garagh, Esq., . Coolavin. 1 

1639, Feb. 24, . Sir George Radcliffe, Knt., . Rathmines, Dublin. 
. Hon. Theobald Taaffe, . Ballymote. 

1640, April 27, Patrick Gassy, Esq., . . Grange. 

(Vice Radcliffe, absent from 

1654, . . Sir Robert King. 

, , Sir John Temple (chosen to re- 

present the counties Sligo, 
Leitrim, and Roscommon 
in Cromwell's Parliament 
at "Westminster). 
1661, April 16, Francis Gore, Knt., . . Artarmon. 

,, ,, . Robert Morgan, Esq., . . Cottelstown. 
1689, May 7, . Henry Crofton, Esq., . . Longford Castle. 
,, ,, . Oliver 0' Gar a, JEsq. 

(Summoned ly writs of James //.) 

1692, Oct. 5, . Edward "Wingfield, Esq., . Powerscourt, Wick- 

,, . Hugh Morgan, Esq., . . Cottelstown 

1695, Aug. 27, Edward Wingfield, Esq., . Powerscourt, Wick- 

,, . Hugh Morgan, Esq., . . Cottelstown. 

1703, Sept. 15, Edward Wingfield, Esq., . Powerscourt, Wick- 

Hugh Morgan, Esq., . . Cottelstown. 
1713, Oct. 17, . Chidley Coote, Esq., . . Coote Hall, Roscom- 

>> . William Ormsby, Esq. mon. 

1715, . Chidley Coote, Esq. 

. . William Ormsby, Esq. 

1719, July 21, . Francis Ormsby, Esq., . Willowbrook. 

( Vice Coote, deceased.) 

1 The latter was the originator of the celebrated historical work which is 
now commonly known as " The Annals of the Four Masters"; and in the 
preface the compilers state that he was " one of the two knights elected to 
represent the county of Sligo in the Parliament held in Dublin this present 
year of our Lord, 1634." 




1727, Sept. 25, 
1737, Oct. 26, . 
1749, Oct. 24, . 
1757, Nov. 8, . 
1761, April 24, 

1765, Nov. 18, 
1768, July 11, . 
1776, May 1, . 

55 55 




1797, July 11, . 

1800, June 7, . 



1806, .. 





Joshua Cooper, Esq., . 
(Vice Francis Ormsby, mis- 

Owen Wynne, Esq., 
Joshua Cooper, Esq., . 
James Wynne, Esq., 
( Vice Owen Wynne, deceased.) 
Owen Wynne, the yr. Esq., . 
( Vice James Wynne, deceased.) 
Benjamin Burton, the yr. Esq., 
( Vice Cooper, deceased.) 
Sir Edward King, Bart., 

Owen Wynne, Esq., 
Annesley Gore, 
( Vice King, Lord Kingston.) 
Owen Wynne, Esq., 
Joshua Cooper, Esq., 
Et. Hon. Joshua Cooper, 
Et. Hon. Owen Wynne, 
Owen Wynne, jun., Esq., 
( Vice Et. Hon. Owen Wynne, 

unduly elected.) 
Owen Wynne, Esq., 
Charles O'Hara, Esq., . 
Charles O'Hara, Esq., . 
Joshua Edward Cooper, Esq., 
Joshua Edward Cooper, Esq., 
Charles O'Hara, Esq., . 
Joshua Edward Cooper, Esq., 
Charles O'Hara, Esq., . 

(Act of Union.) 

Joshua Edward Cooper, Esq., 
Charles O'Hara, Esq., . 
Joshua Edward Cooper, Esq., 
Charles O'Hara, Esq., . 
Charles O'Hara, Esq., . 
Edward Synge Cooper, Esq., 
Charles O'Hara, Esq., . 
Edward Synge Cooper, Esq., 
Charles O'Hara, Esq., . 
Edward Synge Cooper, Esq., 







Burton Hall, Car- 

Eockingham, Eos- 













Nymph sfield. 















Date. Name. Residence. 

1818, . . Charles O'Hara, Esq., . . Nymphsfield. 

,, Edward Synge Cooper, Esq.. Markee. 

1820, . . Charles O'Hara, Esq., . . Nymphsfield. 

,, Edward Synge Cooper, Esq., Markree. 

1822, Nov. 23, . Hon. Henry King, vice O'Hara. 

1826, . . Edward Synge Cooper, Esq., Markree. 

,, Hon. Henry King. 

1830, Aug. 17, Hon. Henry King. 

,, ,, Edward Joshua Cooper, Esq., Markree. 

1831, May 17, . Edward Joshua Cooper, Esq., Markree. 

,, ,, Lt.-Col. Alexander Perceval, Templehouse. 

1832, Dec. 20, . Edward Joshua Cooper, Esq., Markree. 

,, ,, Lt.-Col. Alexander Perceval, Templehouse. 

1835, Jan. 15, . Edward Joshua Cooper, Esq., Markree. 

,, ,, Lt.-Col. Alexander Perceval, Templehouse. 

1837, Aug. 17, . Edward Joshua Cooper, Esq., Markree. 

,, ,, Lt.-Col. Alexander Perceval, Templehouse. 

1841, July 8, . Lt.-Col. Alexander Perceval, Templehouse. 
,, ,, Wm. Richard Ormsby Gore, 

jun., Esq. 

Sept. 28, . John Ffolliott, Esq., . . Hollybrook. 

( Vice Perceval, appointed Ser- 
geant-at-Arms to the House 
of Lords.) 
1847, Aug. 9, . Wm. Richard Ormsby Gore, 


John Ffolliott, . . . Hollybrook. 
1850, March 12, Sir Robert Gore Booth, Bart., Lissadell. 
( Vice Ffolliott, who accepted 

the Chiltern Hundreds.) 
1852, July 26, . Sir Robert Gore Booth, Bart., Lissadell. 

Richard Swift, Esq. 

1857, Aprils, . Sir Robert Gore Booth, Bart., Lissadell. 
>, Edward Joshua Cooper, Esq., Markree. 

1859, May 13, . Sir Robert Gore Booth, Bart., Lissadell. 
Charles W. Cooper O'Hara, 

Esq., .- Annaghmore. 

186 5, . Sir Robert Gore Booth, Bart., Lissadell. 

Lt.-Col. Edw. Henry Cooper, Markree^ 

1868, . . Denis Maurice O'Conor, Esq. 

> Sir Robert Gore Booth, Bart., Lissadell. 

1874, . Denis Maurice O'Conor, Esq. 

Sir Robert Gore Booth, Bart., Lissadell. 




1877, Jan. 12, 


? j 
1883, Aug. 20, 

1885, N. Sligo, 
S. Sligo, 

1886, N. Sligo, 
,, S. Sligo, 

1887, Feb. 7, 

1888, July 6, 
1891, April 3, 


Lt.-Col. Robert Edward King- 

Harman, .... 

( Vice Booth, deceased.) 
Thomas Sexton. 
Denis Maurice 0' Conor. 
Nicholas Lynch, 
(Vice O'Conor, deceased.) 
Peter M'Donald. 
Thomas Sexton. 
Peter M'Donald. 
Thomas Sexton. 
(New election, Sexton electing 

to sit for W. Belfast.} 
Edward Joseph Kennedy. 
(New election on resignation of 

Edmond Leamy. 
Bernard Collery, 3261. 
(Vice M'Donald, deceased.) 
Valentine Dillon. 2493. 




(Two Members.} 
1613, April, . Henry Andrews, Esq., . Dublin. 

,, ,, Edward South work, Esq. 

1615-1 634, . (No Parliament held in Ireland. ) 
1634, June, . . Edward Southwork, Esq. 

,, ,, Arthur Jones, . . . Athlone. 

(or, according to a MS. in the Brit. Mus.) 
1634, July 14, . Roger Jones, Knt., . . Sligo. 

,, ,, , Thomas Maul. 

1639, Feb. 27, . Thomas RatclifEe, Esq., . Dublin. 
,, ,, Kean O'Hara, Esq., . . Coolany. 

1641, May 27, . (New writ ordered in place of 


1641, June, . (Return defaced} 
1647-1661, . (No Parliament held in Ireland. ) 
1661, April 25, Sir Henry Tichborne, Knt. 
(Blessington, Tirconnel). 

,, ,, Samuel Bathurst . . Dublin. 

1 662-1 689, . ( No Parliament held in Ireland} 


Date. Name. Residence. 

1689, May 7, . Terence WDonogh, Esq. 

,, ,, James French, JEsq. (summoned 

by writ of James II.) 
1692, Oct. 5, . Percy Gethin, Esq. . . Sligo. 

,, ,, Theophilus Jones, Esq., . Headford, Leitrim. 

1695, Aug. 27, . Percy Gethin, Esq., . . Sligo. 

,, ,, Roger Smith, Esq., . . Cloverhill. 

1703, Sept. 27, Percy Gethin, Esq., . , Sligo. 

,, ,, Samuel Walton, Alderman. 

1713, Oct. 19, . Samuel Burton, Esq., . . Dublin. 

,, ,, Owen Wynne, Esq., . . Lurganboy, Leitrim. 

1715, Nov. 12, . Samuel Burton. . . . Dublin. 

,, ,, Owen Wynne, . . . Lurganboy, Leitrim. 

1727, Sept. 27, . Owen Wynne, Esq., . . Sligo. 

,, ,, Francis Ormsby, Esq. . . Willowbrook. 

1751, Oct. 19, . John Wynne, Esq., . . Hazlewood. 

( Vice Ormsby, deceased.) 
1753, . . James Wynne. 

( Vice John Wynne.) 
1755, . . John Wynne. 

( Vice James Wynne.) 
1757, Oct. 18, . John Wynne, Esq. 

,? William Ormsby, . . Willowbrook. 

( Vice Owen Wynne, deceased.) 
1761, April 24, . Lt.-General John Ffolliott. 

John Wynne, Esq. 

1761, Nov. 13, . William Ormsby, . . Willowbrook. 

( Vice Wynne, elected to sit for 

1762, April, 13, Robert Scott, Esq., . . Newry, Down. 

( Vice Ffolliott, deceased.) 
1768, July 9, . John Wynne, Esq., 2nd Regt. 

of Horse. 
William Ormsby, Esq., . Willowbrook, 

1776, June 10, . Rt. Hon. Owen Wynne, . Hazlewood. 
Richard Hely Hutchinson, 


1777, Nov. 24, . John Wynne, Esq., . . Fail-field, Kildare. 

( Vice Hutchinson, elected to 
sit for University of Dublin. ) 

1778, March 16, R. H. Hutchinson. 

(Reinstated without writ on 
decease of John Wynne.) 



Date ' Name. Residence. 

1779 > - Rt. Hon. Owen Wynne, . Hazlewood. 

1783, Sept. 5, . Et. Hon. Owen Wynne, . Hazlewood. 

n Et. Hon. John Forster. 

1783, Nov. 24, . Thomas Dawson, Esq., . Clare Castle, 

(Vice Forster, elected to sit Armagh, 

for the county Louth.) 

1789, April 13, Eobert Wynne, Esq., Lt., 

12th Dragoons. 
( Vice Owen Wynne, deceased.) 

1790, May 5, . Eobert Wynne, Esq., Lt., 

12th Dragoons. 

Et. Hon. Viscount Cole. 

1790, July 19, . Owen Wynne, . . . Hazlewood. 
( Vice Cole, elected to sit for 
Co. Fermanagh.) 

1797, Aug. 12, . The Et. Hon. John Viscount 

t, ,, Eobert Wynne, Esq. 

1798, Feb. 9, . Owen Wynne, . . . Hazlewood. 

( Vice Cole, elected to sit for 
the Co. Fermanagh.) 

1799, Feb. 8, . William Wynne. 

(Vice Eobert Wynne, who 
accepted the office of Comp- 
troller of the Household of 
His Excellency the Lord 

1800, June 7, . Owen Wynne, Esq., . . Hazlewood. 
,, ,, William Wynne, Esq. 

(By the Act of Union Sligo Borough returned only one Member 
to the Imperial Parliament.} 


1802, July 24, 
1806, July 16, 

1806, Nov. 17, 

1807, May 22, 

1812, Nov. 5, 

1813, April 5, 

Owen Wynne, Esq., 

Col. George Canning, 

( Vice Owen Wynne, who had 
accepted the office of Es- 
cheator of Munster.) 

George Canning, Esq. 

Colonel George Canning. 

Et. Hon. George Canning. 

Joshua Spencer, Esq. 

(Vice Canning elected to sit 
for Liverpool.) 





1815, March 27, 

1818, June 29, . 
1820, March 21, 
1826, June 17, . 

1830, Aug. 4, . 

1831, May 9, . 

1832, Dec. 20, 
1835, Jan. 9, 
1837, Aug. 3, 
1841, July 9, 

1847, Aug. 4, 

1848, April 11, 

1848, July 15, 

1852, July 15, 

1853, July 7, 

1856, March 8, 

1857, April 1, 

1859, May 6, 

1860, Aug. 9, 

1865, July 15, 
1868, Nov. 19, 


Sir Brent Spencer, K.B., Bart. 

( Vice Joshua Spencer, Esq., 
who had accepted the office 
of Escheator of Munster.) 

John Bent, Esq., 

Owen Wynne, Esq., 

Owen "Wynne, Esq., 

John "Wynne, Esq., 

John Wynne, Esq., 

(Municipal Reform Act.} 

John Martin, Esq., 

John Martin, Esq., 

John Patrick Somers, Esq. 

John Patrick Somers, Esq. 

John Patrick Somers, Esq. 

(New writ : last election being 

declared void.) 
Charles Townley, 

(New writ : last election being 

declared void.) 
John Patrick Somers. 
Charles Townley, 

(New writ: last election being 

declared void.) 
John Sadlier, Esq., 

Rt. Hon. John Wynne, 

( Vice Sadlier, deceased.) 

John Patrick Somers. 

(On petition Somers was un- 
seated, and Et. Hon. John 
Wynne declared duly elected.) 


Totness, Co. Devon. 






Townley, Co. Lan- 

Townley, Co. Lan- 

Gloucester square, 

Hyde Park. 

Rt. Hon. John Wynne, 
Francis M'Donogh, Q.C., 
( Vice Wynne, resigned.) 
Richard Armstrong, S.L. 
Major Laurence E. Knox. 
(Unseated on petition. A 
Commission of Inquiry in- 
stituted, and the Borough 

Rutland- square, 




464 families (2008 persons) obtain gratuitous relief at a 

weekly expense of 31 15 6 

167 labourers employed at 4*. 6d. each per week, . . 33 10 6 
108 women, spinning flax, at a weekly loss of, . 580 

The weekly loss on the sale of provisions at reduced rates, 1117 
Supposed increase of weekly gratuitous aid to paupers, 

till 20th August, ... 500 


294 families (1249 persons) obtain gratuitous relief at a 

weekly expense of ...... 22 5 

95 labourers employed at 4s. 6d. each per week, . . 2176 

60 women, spinning flax, at a weekly loss of . . 2160 
Supposed increase of weekly gratuitous aid to paupers, till 

20th August, 250 

"Weekly loss on sale of provisions at reduced prices, . 7100 



184 families (838 persons) obtain gratuitous relief at a 

weekly expense of ...... 14 7 

85 labourers employed at an expense of 4s. 6d. each per 

week, ......... 19 2 6 

74 women, spinning flax, at a weekly loss of . . 320 

The weekly loss on the sale of provisions at reduced prices, 415 9 
Supposed increase of weekly gratuitous aid to paupers, till 

20th August, at Is. 6d. per week to each family, . 250 

HUME. 43 12 3 




362 families (1816 persons) obtain gratuitous relief at a 

weekly expense of 30 7 6 

130 labourers employed at the wages of 4s. 6d. per week 

each, 30 3 

53 women, spinning flax, at a weekly loss of . . . 1 19 9 

Supposed increase of paupers, till 20th August, at a 
weekly expense (taking each family at Is. &d. per 
week) of 1134 

"Weekly loss on sale of provisions at reduced prices, . 1150 

M. MADDEN. 75 8 7 





1709. Thomas Jennings, vice Arthur Cooper, deceased. 

1710. John Booth, vice Benjamin Burton, Esq., disfranchised, having 

refused to take the oath. 

17H. Captain Owen Wynne, vice Ealfe Gore, resigned. 
1715. George Ormsby, vice Percy Gethin, deceased. 

1721. John Jameson, vice Philip Cox, deceased. 

1722. Major-Gen. Owen Wynne, Capt. John Wynne, Major John Foliot. 
1727. John Knox, vice John Jameson, deceased. 

1729. Laurence Yernon, vice Thomas Jennings, deceased. 

1733. James Wynne, vice John Booth, deceased. 

1736. Philip Cox, vice Et. Hon. Lieut.-Gen. Owen Wynne, deceased. 

1738. Joshua Cooper, vice William Ormsby, deceased. 

1743. Anderson Saunders, vice William Smith, deceased. 

1744. Cornet Owen Wynne, vice Arthur Gore, deceased. 

1747. Captain John Wynne, vice Colonel John Wynne, deceased. 

1748. Lewis Ormsby, vice George Ormsby, deceased ; William Ormsby, 

vice James Wynne, deceased. 
1750. George Knox, vice John Knox. 

1753. Edward Martin, vice Eichard Gore. 

1754. Eev. George Ormsby, vice Lewis Ormsby ; Blackford Hughes, 

vice Anderson Saunders ; William Vernon, vice Laurence 

Yernon, deceased. 
1756. Hon. Barry Maxwell, vice Mitchelburn Knox, deceased; Eev. 

Eubule Ormsby, vice Colonel Owen Wynne, deceased. 
1760. Eichard Saunders, vice Joshua Cooper, deceased ; Hon. and Eev. 

Dean Henry Maxwell, vice William Yernon, deceased. 
1762. Philip Birne, vice Hon. Gen. John Folliott, deceased. 
1768. Eev.^^y^Qiifl^ ce ^ n ^P ^ox, deceased. 
1771. Joshua Cooper, vice Edward Martin, of Ballyglass, deceased; 

James Wynne, vice Eev. Eubule Ormsby, deceased. 
1775. Folliott Wynne, vice Blackford Hughes, deceased. 



1776. John Gibson, vice Rev. Thomas Cuffe, deceased. 

1777. Thomas Hillas, vice James Wynne, deceased. 

1778. John Martin, vice Thomas Hillas, deceased ; Owen Wynne, vice 

George Ormsby ; Rev. Henry Wynne, vice Col. John Wynne, 

1779. Henry Hughes, vice Bishop of Meath, resigned. 

1783. Lieut. Robert Wynne, vice William Ormsby, deceased. 

1784. William Gillmor, vice John Gibson, deceased; Thomas Soden, 

^ 'vice .t'oliiott Wynne, deceased ; Samuel Bulteei, #/<?<? lienry 
Hughes, deceased. 

1785. Charles Phillips, vice John Martin, resigned. 

1786. Rev. Richard Wynne, vice Right Hon. Barry Maxwell, Earl of 

Farnham, resigned. 

1789. William Wynne, vice Right Hon. Owen Wynne, deceased. 

1790. Mitchelburn Knox, vice George Knox, deceased ; Hon. William 

Montgomery Cole, vice Joshua Cooper, resigned. 
1794. Rev. Stephen Radcliffe, vice Philip Birne, deceased. 
1800. Andrew Parke, vice Charles Phillips, deceased; Robert K. 

Manly, vice Mitchelburn Knox, resigned. 

1803. 3^ev. William C. Armstronge, vice Rev. Stephen Radcliffe ; 

Thomas iiolmes, vice Apfcfrew Parke, deceased. 

1804. Alexander M'Creery, viaf'Rev. William Cole, deceased. 

1808. Rev. Wm. Bolingbroojfe Ayres, vice William Gillmor^deceased. 
1815. wen William Wynne, vice Ricnard. launders, deceased; Ricl 
Beaver Wynne/W0<? Owen William Wynne, deceased. 

1817. Alexander Percpral, vice Robert Kenrick Manly, resigned. 

1818. Rev. John Yeajcs, vice Thomas Holmes, deceased. 

1822. Bartholomew/Carter, M.D., vice Robert Wynne, resigned; John 

Arthur Wynne, vice Richard Wynne, resigned. 

1823. William Willoughby Wynne, vice Rev. W. B. Ayres, resigned. 

1824. John Ormsby, vice Wynne, resigned ; Rev. Charles Hamilton, 

vice Ijjev. W. C. Armstronge, resigned. 
1827. H. H. Slade^ce Alexander Perceval, resigned. 
1830. James Noble, p^\Alexander M'Creery, resigned. 
1834. Rev. William Armstrong, vice Rev. W. W. Wynne, resigned ; 

iam Wynne, resigned. 
1840. James Wynn^f? Rev. W. Armstronge, deceased. 


. IL^L, . JkW. 

I A J* 












Purpose of Loans. 



Period for 

Rate o 

Interest ] 





Debenture Mortgages Gene- 
ral Purposes, 
Fairs and Markets Purchase, 
General Purposes, 

Waterworks Construction, . . 
Do. (Town Extensions), . . 
Do. (Completion of), 
Sewers . . . . . . 

s. d. 

11,316 18 5 


Sept. 29, 1875, 
Jan. 1, 1884, 
July 4, 1885, 

May 18, 1881, 
Nov., 1884, 
March 10, 1886, 
July 7, 1880, 


50 years, 

1 13s.^ 


Do. (River, south side), 
Artizans' Dwellings, 
Debenture Mortgages Ge- 
neral Purposes (replacing 
those discharged), 



Oct. 13, 1880, 
Feb. 12, 1887, 

Jan. 1st, 1889, 



58,772 18 5 



Dec. 31. 


To CAPITAL. Amount expended from Loans on Re- 
venue Account up to this date, 

Expenditure from REVENUE for the year, 

do. do. do. 

do. do. do. 

do. do. do. 

do. do. do 

do. do. do. 

do. do. do. 

Amount of Half-yearly Instalment of Principal ; 
also 6 months' Interest due on Nov. 1, 1889, 
not paid within the year, 

Balance being SURPLUS OF INCOME to be trans- 
ferred to Credit of Capital Account, 

s. d. 

766 13 7 

1589 18 4 

1676 17 9 

1071 9 6 

2040 8 11 

1985 19 10 

1953 15 

2,281 17 

11,085 2 1 

885 14 
506 14 

12,477 11 





Mode of Repay- 

Amount paid this 
year, 1889, 
not including Lodg- 
ments to Sinking 

Amount of Princi- 
pal outstanding 
Dec. 31, 1889. 


Sum set apart. 

Security in 
which invested. 

Rate of Interest 

Sinking Fund, 

8. d. 

8. d. 
11,316 18 5 

s. d. 
600 9 3 

Irish Conso- 



'soo 'o o" 


lidated An- 





Half-yearly in- 

stalments, , 

300 3 

25,506 3 1 





119 1 

4,583 6 6 


6 17 4 

157 18 8 


26 13 4 

573 6 8 




Sinking Fund, 


54,559 13 4 

600 9 3 



By INCOME for the year proceeds of 
Is. Rate, including portion lodged 
in 1882, 

s. d. 

. d. 
698 10 

s. d. 


, , Income for the year 2s. Rate, 

,, ,, ., Sales, 

1480 8 4 
302 14 7 

1635 4 4 
1783 2 11 


,, ,, 2.. Rate, .. 
,, ,; Sales, 

1489 19 10 
387 4 4 

1877 4 2 



,, ,, ,, 2s. Rate, .. 
,, ,, >, Sales, 
,, ,, ,, Materials sold, 

1561 13 11 
451 3 7 
17 6 6 

2030 4 

j > 

,, ,, ,, 2*. Rate, .. 

1519 3 1 
551 13 5 

2070 16 6 


,, ,, 2s. Rate, .. 
Sales, &c. .. 

1820 3 6 
562 6 

2382 9 6 

12,477 11 5 
12,477 11 5 






To Payments to Contractors Swiney and 
On Contract No. 1, 
,, On Contract No. 2, 

,, Extras on No. 1, 
on No. 2, 

Do. Repairs of Slip in Embankment, . . 
,, Fencing Reservoir (Swiney &M'Larnon), 

s. d. 

14,015 18 3 
905 17 1 

s. d. 

14,921 15 4 

3,273 11 
1,231 14 11 

s. d. 

19,427 1 3 
401 13 6 
4,707 12 9 
585 10 6 

2,025 7 8 

1,874 3 7 
1,872 16 6 
1,518 3 

1,442 6 1 

434 8 4 

169 18 3 
52 19 6 

153 14 4 
68 19 
51 4 

2,946 5 4i 
327 5 7 

" Repairs of Breach in '86-7 (D. M'Lynn), 
,, Principal and Interest paid from Loan 
in '81, '82, and '83, to be repaid from 

Transfer to Borough Fund in 1881, being 
the Amount expended from Rates, &c. 
on preliminary Expenses prior to Loan 

,, Engineering, &c. Expenses, 
Costs of "Amending Act," 1880-1 (re- 
viving power of compulsory purchase 

. . 

,, Advertising Parliamentary Notices, 

,, Caretakers' House at Farnacardy and 

,, Compensation for Damages to Crops and 
Lands adjacent to Site of Storage 

Miscellaneous Expenses, 

,, Interest on Overdraft Provincial Bank,* 


By Loans, Commissioners of Works, 
,, Do. do. do. 
,, Do. do. do. 

,, Board of Works refunded unexpended 
Balance of Deposits, i. e. Expenses of 
Preliminary Inquiries, 
,, Interest allowed by Provincial Bank, . . 

Balance due Provincial 


82 15 4 

36,898 14 6 
34,182 15 4 

40 10 1 
42 5 3 

Bank, Dec. 31, 

1887, .. 

2,715 19 2 

Disallowed by Auditor, and repaid by Members of Committee surcharged. 





Lunatic Asylum, 
Union Workhouse, 
Fever Hospital, 
National Model School, 
Military Barracks, 
Harbour Commissioners, 
Calry Church, 
St. John's Church, 





General Domestic Supply, Fountains, Water- 
ing Streets, &c. &c., 









J. J. 0' Donovan, lent on Bond towards 
payment of Revising Barristers' Ex- 
penses in 1843, 
James Lough eed, lent on Bond towards 
discharge of William Allen's Bond for 
417 7*. 11^. (Compensation for loss 
of office), 
Mayors' Salaries unpaid, &c. &c. to this 
date, Sept. 29, 1869, . . 530 
Other liabilities, .. 34 3 11 

s. d. 


ZAA 311 

s. d. 


Due at passing of " Sligo Borough. Im- 
provement Act, 1869," 
Debenture Mortgages to Kernaghan and 
Saunders in settlement of balance of 
Costs of Act, 
Debenture Mortgages to Harbour Com- 
missioners in settlement of Account 
due as from "Town" to "Harbour 
Harbour Commissioners' Bonds for 
which Corporation became liable in 
1869, 2000, late Irish Currency, . . 

2866 18 5 

1846 3 1 

1264 3 11 
5563 1 6 


Deb. Mortgages issued for 7150 
from proceeds of which 
were paid 
Off Town Com. 
Bonds, 1846 3 1 
Other liabi- 
lities, 814 3 11 
fifio 7 n 

leaving balance towards Costs Town 
Hall Erection, &c 

4489 13 


Debenture Mortgages issued for Pur- 
chase of Fairs and Markets, 
Do. for General Purposes, 



Total Amt. of Deb. Mortgages, 

19,416 18 5 





Construction of Sewer from Kidd's-row 
into Knox's-street, 
Intercepting Sewer (south side of river), 

s. d. 


s. d. 


"Waterworks' Construction, 
Do. Town Extension, 
Do. Completion of Main Works, 


O A 1 f\f] (\ f\ 


Artizan's Dwellings (erection of 30 
houses, of which 28 were completed 
in 1888), 

3 300 

Total secured Debts,* 

57,822 18 5 

*Sundry persons on Debenture Mortgages 

19 416 is 5 

Board of Works' Loans, 


57,822 18 5 


Purpose of 



Due on 
Dec. 31, 1889. 

8. d. 

s. d. 

s. d. 

s. d. 

Sanitary, . . 


48 1 4 

157 18 8 



226 13 4 

573 6 8 



2,493 16 11 

25,506 3 1 



416 13 6 

4,583 6 6 










34 992 14 11 


3,413 5 1 

53,809 4 1 




. d. 


19,416 18 


Amount of Sinking Fund on Dec. 31, 1889, 

towards extinction of above Loans. (This 

Fund was formed in 1885, by 'virtue of 

"Improvement Act, 1869.") 

600 9 


18,816 9 2 

2 I 








By Commissioners of Works Loan for Erection 
of 30 Houses, . . 


To Proportion of Cost of Site (Cadger's Field), . . 
Cost 500 reserved east end for extension of 
Butter Market, for which 200 is charged to 
Markets Account. 
Erection of 28 Houses, 

Roads, Flagging, &c., 

Law Costs Mortgage Deed, Local Government 
Board Inquiry, &c., . . 

Printing and Advertising, 

Sundry Expenses, . . . . 

Leaving unexpended Balance of 

towards Erection of 2 Houses to complete 
number (30) for which Loan was obtained. 

s. d. 


2424 4 

70 6 3 

102 16 3 

56 13 2 

15 3 6 

4 13 

s. d. 

2973 16 2 

326 3 10 



To Repayment of Loan, 
,, Interest, .. 

113 15 5 

,, Poor Rates, Borough and Water Rates, &c., . . 

,, Repairs, .. 

,, Collection of Rents, 

,, Miscellaneous, 


By Weekly Rents received for the Year, 


s. d. 

179 15 5 

32 3 9 



1 3 

230 7 10 


238 6 

238 6 







Harbour Dues. 

Import Dues. 

Export Dues. 



s. d. 

s. d. 

s. d. 

s. d, 
232 5 10 


449 2 


_ _ 

549 12 6 


563 15 11 


436 12 4 


714 4 10 


1122 9 2 


1318 18 5 


1561 6 4 


526 13 4 


585 4 9 


1339 9 


1486 11 8 


1645 9 11 


1864 1 


1313 f> 8 


1051 19 6 

597 18 6 

636 10 3 

2286 8 3 


1149 8 10 

665 2 4 

811 4 1 

2625 15 3 


930 12 5 

551 10 7 

928 17 4 

2411 4 


783 2 4 

464 14 

868 13 

2116 9 4 


883 5 11 

470 19 4 

944 8 9 

2298 14 


802 7 4 

503 7 8 

1029 18 2 

2335 13 2 


1003 12 10 

627 7 11 

1144 8 8 

2775 9 5 


1065 11 2 

651 3 2 

1307 7 9 

3024 2 1 


1092 16 10 

645 19 2 

1247 18 1 

2986 14 1 






Harbour Dues. 

Import Dues. 

Export Dues. 



s. d. 
1165 14 7 

s. d. 
790 5 5 

s. d. 
1122 2 1 

s. d. 
3088 2 1 


1258 11 10 

749 6 9 

1011 10 6 

3019 9 1 


1251 11 11 

718 14 4 

919 17 9 

2890 4 


1469 3 

745 3 1 

939 5 

3153 11 1 


1311 14 9 

863 15 11 

906 17 

3082 7 8 


1206 19 3 

745 1 

848 13 5 

2800 12 9 


1258 15 8 

719 17 2 

912 3 10 

2890 16 8 


1262 11 3 

958 14 4 

746 12 4 

2967 17 11 


1187 5 1 

905 9 

760 12 

2852 17 10 


1343 6 3 

1039 1 1 

752 14 5 

3125 1 9 


1455 6 

1272 7 2 

664 3 10 

3391 17 


1418 2 9 

1149 7 2 

789 19 2 

3357 9 1 


1285 6 2 

1110 9 1 

773 17 9 

3169 13 


1763 1 10 

1537 3 2 

895 15 5 

4196 5 


1509 16 5 

1151 18 

793 11 9 

3455 6 2 


1985 6 2 

1605 18 9 

817 16 4 

4409 3 


1903 17 8 

1465 11 2 

629 10 1 

3998 18 11 


1969 5 9 

1377 1 3 

642 4 

3988 11 


1749 4 4 

1363 16 6 

624 18 3 

3737 19 1 


1582 19 8 

1299 6 4 

746 2 9 

3628 8 9 


2222 1 9 

1774 10 

618 3 10 

4614 6 5 


2131 14 5 

1710 13 

634 5 6 

4476 12 11 


1912 13 2 

1603 3 7 

524 13 5 

4040 10 2 


1777 12 9 

1810 12 2 

733 6 6 

4321 11 5 


1787 8 

2109 10 8 

716 6 

4622 19 2 


1663 8 9 

1827 17 1 

721 4 2 

4212 10 


1963 5 

2310 15 5 

616 16 1 

4890 16 6 


1970 13 

2356 13 10 

565 4 3 

4892 11 1 


2003 11 6 

2457 3 5 

534 7 

4994 15 6* 

Gross total Revenue from all sources, 7057 1*. 4d. 








Number of 


Number of 
















































































































Ordnance Survey Name. 

Irish Name. 




acao-capaio, . 

field of the weir. 

Ardnaglass, Lower, 


hill of the fetters. 

Do. Upper, 

Ballincastle, . 

baile an caipleam, 

town of the castle. 

Ballinphull, . 

baile an poill, 

town of the hole, or pit. 


baile na mbpoc, . 

town of the badgers. 


baile ui pcanail, . 

O'Scannell's town. 



wolf field. 


bun buib, 

mouth of the river Dubh. 

(Jarrownamaddoo. . 

ceacparh na mabao, 

quarter of the dogs. 

Cartronkillerdoo, . 

capcun coille buibe, 

cartron of the black wood. 



caiple geala, . 

white forts. 


caiple sabna, . 

Go wan' s forts. 


cluan epco, . 

Erck's lawn, or meadow. 


cluain cijeppuclaip, 

lawns of the badger warrens, or 




stony ground. 


cloi6 appappa, 

stone of the spar. 

Creevy keel, 
DeiTy, . 

cpaoibiQ- caol, 
cpaoibig m6p, 

narrow creevy, or bushy land, 
great creevy, or bushy land, 
an oak wood. 

Drangan, or Mount \ 
Edward, j 

boipe licheain, 
bun peapcain, 


Lyon's oak wood, 
fort of the sedgy moor. 

a small gap, breach, or chasm. 



long ridge. 


n A 1 

eaban piabach, 

grey brow, or front. 



field of the Deny, or oak wood, 
field of the flag stone, or smooth 

rocky surface. 


Speilleach, . . ! 

a grange, 
a miry place. 



land producing long grass, such 

Conor's Island, 

as florin or sedge. 

Dernish Island, 

boipe imp, 
Imp muipeaoaig, . 

island of the oak-wood, 
island of Murragagh, or Mur- 




Ordnance Survey Name. 

Irish Name. 



Inishnagor, . 

Iriip na scopp, 

island of the cranes. 

Kilcat, . 

cill caic, 

wood of the cat. 

Kiltykere, . 

cill Caolos, . 
coillce caep, . 

St. Caolog's church, 
woods of the berries. 


liop leacpaishe, . 

fort of the leather bags. 

Lyle, . . 
Money gold, . 

laoijjill, . 
muine &ubalcai5, . 

a man's name (local). 
Dwaltagh's shrubbery. 

Mount Temple, 


mullac rn6p, . 

great top or summit. 

Mullaghmore West 


baile tip, 

new town. 


cliac niuine, . 

shrubbery, or brake of the 

Rathfrask, . 

pacppaips, . 

Frasg's fort. [hurdles. 

Rathhugh, . 

pac ao&a, 

Hugh's fort. 


cnoc piabach, 

Grey hill, is the old Irish name. 


ppac piabach, 

grey strath or holm. 



a stripe of land. 



baile tip, 

new town. 

Ballyglass, . 

baile slap, 

green town. 


baile na m6na, 

town of the bog. 

Ballytivnan, . 

baile ui fcuibneain, 

O'Tivnan's town. 


bapp ptiat>, 

red top. 


beul dca an p6ib, . 

mouth of the ford of the sod. 

Bellanurly, . 

beul-dca an uiple, 

mouth of the ford of the skir- 


beul dca riiuilin big, 

mouth of the ford of the little 


capn caip, 

Gas's earn. [mill. 

Carrickoneilleen, . 

cappaic ui neillfn, 

O'Nellin's rock. 


ceacparh loipce, . 

quarter of the kneeding trough. 


capctin, . 

a cartron of land. 

Clogherbeg, . . ) 
Cloghermore, . j 

clocap, . 

a stony place. 

Corwillick, . 

clooap piabac, 
calgach, . 
cop baile, or buail&e, 

grey, stony land, 
abounding in prickles or thorns, 
odd or uneven booley, or milk- 

ing place. 


t)tjn dille, 

fort of the cliff, or declivity. 


eaban bdn, 

white fort, or brow of a hill. 


peapann na ceapbca, 

land of the forge. 



lofts or shelves. 



round hill. 

Glackbaun, . 

glaic bain, 

white hollow. 

Hazel wood Demesne, 
Annagh Island, 


a marsh. 
Annagh, i.e. a, marsh, swampy 

Bernard's Island, . 

oiledn beapnac, 


Black Tom's Island, 

oiledn comdip buib, 

Churcb Island, 


Cormorant Rock, . 

cappaic a buibein, 

rock of the cormorant. 

Fairy Island, 




Ordnance Survey Name. 

Irish Name. 


PARISH or CALRY continued. 

Monk's Island, 

St. Council's Island, 

oilean conaill, 

Swan Island, 

Willow Island, 

Wolf Island, 


caol65aoa buibe, 

yellow ridges. 

Kiltycahill, . 

coillcige cacail, 

Cahill's woods. 


liop bub, . 

black fort. 


liop guaipe, . 

Guaire's fort. 


loch an eilcfn, 

lake of the little doe. 


macaipe a poip, 

plains of the wood. 

or Deer Park, 


mullac seapp, 

short summit. 


pac bpacdin, . 

Braghan's rath, or earthen fort. 


rath, a fort of earth. 

Shannon Eighter, . 

pean mum, 

old shrubbery. 

Do. Oughter, 


Tully, . 

culaig, . 

a hill. 






aca gaib, 

field of the gad, or withe. 

Ardtermon, . 

apb ceapmoifi, 

hill of the Termon, or sanctuary. 


apb cpapna, . 

Cross Hill. 


aic cige buibhe, . 

place of the black house. 


baile an capcha, . 

town of the rock. 

Ballineden, . 

baile an eabain, . 

town of the front or brow of a 

Ballinphull, . 

baile an poill, 

town of the hole. [hill. 


baile an ceampuill, 

town of the church. 

Ballinvoher, . 

baile an bocaip, 

town of the road. 

Ballyconnell, . 

baile an coneil, 

town of the channell. 

Ballygilgan, . 

baile ui giollasdin, 

O'Gillagan's town. 


baile maolboipe, . 

Muldory's town. 


baile na scailleach, 

town of the nuns. 

Bally weelin, . 

baile rhaoilfn, 

Moylin's town. 

Barnarobin, . 

beapna beaps, 
beapna poibfn, 

red gap, or chasm. 
Robin's gap. 

Carney (Jones), 
Carney (O'Beirne), 

peapan ui ceapnaigh, 

0' Kearney's land. 

Carrigeens, . 


a small rock. 

Cartronmore, * 

capcunm6p, . 
capcun uilliaim 615, 
caipeal a geappain, 

great cartron. 
young William's cartron. 
the garron's stone fort. 


pliab gan baipceao, 

a mountain without baptism 


Cloghboley, . 

cloch buailioe, . 
cloc cop, 

stony booley, or dairy place, 
odd stone. 



meadow land. 

Cloonderry, . 

cluain boipe, . 

lawn of the oak wood. 



a small lawn or bog island. 



Ordnance Survey Name. 

Irish Name. 




dun eile, 

Eile's lawn or meadow. 


clun moill, 

lawn of the delay or loitering. 

Collinsford, . 

aca coilin, 

Coilin' s ford. 


ct51 beag, 

small back. 

Cooldrumman, Lr., 

cula bpomdm, 

aack of the ridge. 

Do. Upr. 

Creaghadoo, . 

cpiacha buba, 

slack shrubbery. 

Gregg, . 

cpeig cappach, 
cpeis ui coneill, . 

rugged rock. 
D'Coneil's rock. 


coileach beag, 

ittle cock or grouse. 


coileach m6p, 

great cock or grouse, 
fort of the cliff or precipice. 


btin ptiap, 

cold fort. 


bun lapairi, 

fort of the iron or iron fort. 

Doonowney, . 

bun arhnaigh, 

fort of the river. 

Drum, East, . 


a ridge or long hill. 

Do. West, 

Drumcliff Glebe, . 

bpuim cliab, . 

ridge of the baskets. 

Do. North, . 

Do. South, . 


Do. West, 


Dpuim cille-paileach, 

ridge of the church of the sal- 


pimbe, . 

meaning uncertain. [lows. 


5lean caipbpe, 

Carbry's glen or valley. 

Glen, Lower, 


a glen or valley. 

Do. Upper, 

Gortarowey, . 

gopc a poiTia, 

field of the rue. 


gopc na speilli&e, 

field of the mire, 
hill of the cows of Leyny. 

Horse Island, 

Kilmacannon, * 

caoilce, . 
cill rtiac canan, 

narrow places, or straits, 
church of the sons of Canann. 


cill paileach, . 
coillce ctildig, 
ceafi a cocaip, 
liop learticoille, 
liop na lops, . 
liop a boill, . 

church of the sallows, 
woods of the corner, or angle, 
head of the causeway, 
fort of the elm -wood, 
fort of the tracks, 
fort of the blind man. 


lug a'cobaip, . 
lug na ngall, . 

hollow of the well or spring, 
hollow of the foreigners. 

Magheragillerneeve ) 
or Springfield, . / 
Mullaghnaneene, . 

machaipe giolla ap 
naemh, . 
mullacnan-ean, . 
paclainn, orpechpafn 

Gillernewe's plain. 

summit of the birds, 
rocky isle. 

Rahaberna, . 

pat habaipne, 

Haberny's fort. 

Rosses, Lower, 

pac pealbaig, 
na popa laccpach, 

Shelly 's fort, 
the lower Rosses. 

Do. Upper, 
Slievemore, or ) 

pliab-a-pig, . . ( 

mountain of the king, or great 

King's mountain, j 

pliab m6p, . . I 
caopdn, . 

muddy ford. 


copm6p, . 

great tower. 

Tully, . 
Urlar, . 

culaig, . 

a gentle hill, 
a level, a floor. 



Ordnance Survey Name. 

Irish Name. 




baile beas, 

little town. 

Barnasrahy, . 

bap na ppaice, 

top of the holm, or strath. 

Carrowbunnaun, . 

ceacpamb bunain, 

quarter of the base, or bottom. 


ceacpamh na burhac, 

quarter of the sandbanks. 

Cartron (Honoria 


Black Honor's quarter. 


coillfn na m-bo&ap, 

little wood of the deaf men. 

Culleenduff, . 

coillfn bubh, . 

black little wood. 


cuimfn, . 


Drinaghan, . 


sloe bushes. 

Glen, . 

ale bubh, 

black glen. 

Grange, East, 


a grange. 

Do. North, 

Do. West, 


bunan pacpaic, 

Patrick's little fort. 

I nishmulclohy , 

imp ui maoil6loice, 

O'Mulclohy's island. 

or Coney Island, 

oilcan na s-cumfnish, 

island of the rabbits. 

Maguire's Island, 

oilean mic uioip, . 

Maguire's island. 

Oyster Island, 

oilean na n-oipcpig, 

island of the oysters. 


cill eappoig bpoin, 

Bishop B rone's church. 

Knocknarea, N., . 

cnoc na piagas, 

hill of the executions. 

Do. S., 

Larass, or Strandhill, 


half promontory. 

Lissawully, . 

leach-ceacpamh, . 

half quarter, 
fort of the summit, 
an herb garden ; a kitchen 


Primrose Grange, . 

Rathcarrick, . 

pac macappaic, 

Mac Carrick's fort. 



Honor's fort. 



a point of land. 

Scardanbeg, . 


a small cataract. 

Slieveroe, or } 

pcapban m6p, 

greater scardan. 
red mountain. 

Siberia, . . J 

baile an c-pleibe, 

town of the mountain. 

Tully, . 

culai ?%h 

a hill. 

Woodpark, . . . 



capcun na p6npa, 

cartron of the beans. 



a small fort or mound. 

Carrowcrin, . 
Carrowkeel, . 
Carrowmore, . 

ceacpamh cpin, 
ceacpamh gobabach, 
ceacpamh caol, 
ceacpamh m6p, 
capcun a bpuigh, . 

withered quarter, 
pointed quarter, 
narrow quarter, 
great quarter, 
quarter of the fort. 


cappaigfn paba, 
cappaisfn seapp, . 
cillmac edgain, 

the village, 
long little rock, 
short little rock, 
church of the sons of Owen. 



Ordnance Survey Name. 

Irish Name. 



Knocknahur, North \ 
Do. South j 

cnoc no huppa, 

hill of the surety. 

Knocknasham mer, 

cnoc na peamap, . 

hill of the shamrocks. 

or Cloverhill, 

Lisheenacooravan, . 

liop ui cuprham, . 



ceampall na bpuish, 
cobap na bpfann, . 

church of the fort, 
well of the Fenians. 


Clogh, . 

baile na cloice, 

town of the stone. 

Coolagraffy, . 
Drinaghan, . 
Edencullentragh, or | 
Hollyfield, ) 

cuppach mop, 

eaban cuileancpaG, 

back of the grubbed land, 
great moor, 
a place of sloe bushes. 

hill-brow of the hollies. 


Sleann oairii, . 

glen of the ox. 



a small garden. 


5Opc na nbpcng, . 

field of the clans. 


5opc na habla, 

field of the orchard. 



narrow ridges or furrows. 

Lecklasser, . 

lee laipip, 

St. Lassera's flagstone. 

Moneylahan, . 

muine leacan, 

broad shrubbery or brake. 



(meaning not known). 


mullan paba, 

long summit. 


ucc suaipe, . 

Guaire's hill. 


pean cpoc, 

old. hill. 


Abbey quarter North, 

Do. South, 

Aghamore Far, 

acam6p, . 

great field. 

J-/O. 1.1 Cell j 


baile ui 6uba5ain, . 

O'Dugan's town. 


buaile ppaoig, 

booley, or dairy place of the 




a burial place. 

Cams, . 

na capna, 

the earns or heaps. 

C&ms (Dulcc! 


cappaic anpaig, 
ceacpairh na mabo6, 

Henry's rock, 
quarter of the dogs. 

Carrowroe, . 

ceacparh pua&, 

red quarter. 

Cleaveragh, . 


hurdles or kishes. 



the commons. 

Cornageeha, . 

cop na 500166. 

round hill of the wind. 



little wood. 



Ordnance Survey Name. 

Irish Name. 


PARISH OF ST. JOHN'S continued. 

Derrydarragh, or 

boipe bapach, 

wood of the oak. 



bpuim a pcioboil, . 

ridge of the barn. 


pion apclaifi, 

fair corner, nook, or angle. 

Cottage Island, 

Flat do. 

Glynn do. 

Goat do. 

oilean na ngabap, . 

island of the goats. 

Green do. 


an cnapach, . 

a knoll or tummock, a hillock. 



cnoc na sceanai^e, 

hill of the merchants or buyers, 
broad land. 


macaipe bui&e, 
pac eumain, 

yellow plain. 
Edmond's rath, or earthen fort. 

Tonafortes, . 

Tullynagracken N. 

cullai<5 na gcpaic- 

bottom of the parish. 


hill of the skins. 

Do. S., 


Ordnance Survey Name. 

Irish Name. 


Annaghbeg, or Mo- } 

eanac beg, . . ( 

little marsh. 

nasterredan, . / 

maimr-cip "Rebdin, \ 
clocap, . 

Redan's monastery, 
a stony place. 

Crow Island, 

pdilfmg, . 

little hedges or enclosures. 



a stream. 


carhna muclac, 

field of the piggeries. 



eanac m6p, . -.. 

great marsh, eanac sometimes 

denotes a salt marsh, and 


caillcepdn, . 

sometimes a cut out bog. 
land abounding in hazel. 

Carrowtemple, . { 

ceacpani-'n-ceam- ) 
puill, . j 

church quarter. 

Chacefield, . 

coill pealgdin, 

wood of the herb Sealgan (a 

Cloonanure, . 
Clooneagh, . 

cluan an tubaip, . 
cluain eic, 

kind of edible weed.) 
lawn of the yew. 
lawn of the horse. 



Ordnance Survey Name. 

Irish Name. 




cluain leaccaoin, . 
cluain paileac, 
cluaince cdpn, 

half beautiful lawn or meadow, 
lawn of the sallows, 
lawn of the earns or heaps (of 



coill ppocluip, 

great woods, 
wood of the badger-cavern. 

Boon, . 


a fort. 


Soipcfn, . 

a small field. 


5opc ui sdbpa, 

O'Gara's field. 

Eagle Island, 

ceacparh piabac, . 

grey quarter. 


cille ppaoic, . 

St. Fraech's church. 

Kilstraghlan, or 

coill pcpeacldn, . 

wood of the rags. 



cnoc na huarha, 

hill of the cave. 

Knocknashammer, . 

cnoc n a peamap, . 

hill of the shamrocks. 


cnoc na pceac, 
liop ball'-aoile, 

hill of the briars or thorns, 
fort of Healy's town. 



abounding in oak slits. 

Mount Irvine 

Moy dough, 

mag buac, 

Duach's plain. 


mag ui sdpa, . 

O'Gara's plain. 


mulla6 pua6, . 

red summit. 


maol puao, 

red mound or bald hill. 


pac meabaip, 

fort of the mether. 

Seefin, . 

puioe pfnn, 

Finn's seat, or sitting place. 

Sragh, . 


low-lying land. 




a marsh. 


apb sailin, 

Gallin's height. 


apb I6na, and apb Ion, 

hill of the black birds. 


apb maol, 

bald hill. 


apb p6ipfn, 

hill of the little kiln. 


ceacparh an dine, 

Aine's quarter. 


ceacparhan upldip, 

quarter of the floor, or level. 


caipiol, . 

a stone fort. 

Clooncunny, . 

clun cunaig, . 

lawn of the fire wood. 

Cloonloogh, . 

dun luac, or leamac, 

lawn of the marsh-mallows. 

Cuppanagh, . 


abounding in dock leaves. 


boipe an eacpafn, . 

oak wood of the maze or 



boipe beas . ... ' 
eimlea6, . 

little Derry or oak wood, 
a marsh, or land on a lake. 

Inch Island, . . 


island, or holm. 

Inchbeg Island, 

inpe beas, 

little island. 

Inchmore Island, . 

inpe m6p, 

great island. 

Derrymore Island, . 
Derrinatallan Island, 

boipe m6p, 
boipfn a' cpaluin, . 

great Derry or oak-wood, 
little oak-wood of the salt. 



Ordnance Survey Name. 

Irish Name. 



Killaraght, . 

cill acpacca, . 

half parish of St. Attaracta's 



liop goldin, \ 


liop soiledin 

Gallan's fort. 

liop coldin, 


liop peapdin, . 

Feran's fort. 


liop ap locan, and 

liop ap loc, 

fort on the lake. 


lom cluain, . 

hare lawn or meadow. 


pdc ceapmuin, 
pac cpfondin, 

fort of the termon or sanctuary. 
Senan's fort. 



a morass, a fen. 

Ross, . 

an pop, . 

the point (or the wood) 

Stone Park, 

paipc cloice, and 

paipc na cloi6e, 

park of the stone. 



little tara, or pleasant eminence. 



Ordnance Survey Name. 

Irish Name. 



ea6pop, . . .) 
bail' eacpuip, . / 

point of the horses. 

BallinavaUy, East, 

Do. West, 
Ballinavally, or . 

bail' an bealai, . 

town of the road or pass. 



baile na 5-clo6, 

town of the stones. 

Ballynarrow, N., \ 
Do. S., ) 

baile napdc, . 

town of the forts. 


bpeac clunaiQ-, 

the speckled lawn or meadow. 


ceacpani lochluin, 

Loughlin's quarter. 


ceacpam piabac, . 

grey quarter. 

Cartronroe, . 

capcun puao, 

red cartron. 

Church Hill, 

cnoc a ceampuill, 

hill of the church. 


cluain na cloice, . 

lawn of the stone. 


cluain na nsacan, . 
cluain na huinpin, . 

lawn of the Gaughan's. 
lawn of the ash-trees. 

Cloonameehan, N., ) 
Do. S., . J 

cluain a rhicedn, . 

Meehan's lawn or meadow. 


cluain cuap, . 

lawn of the caves. 


cluain bopca, . 

dark lawn or meadow. 


biocoim6ub, . 

want of guarding or watching. 

Drinsmn \ 

Drinaun bog, . j 


sloe hushes. 


bpuim papnocc, 

bare hill. 

Drumraine, . 
Farranmaurice, , . 

bpuim pacain, 
peapdn muipfp, 

ferny hill or ridge. 
Maurice's land. 



Ordnance Survey Name. 

Irish Name. 



Flowerhill, . 

onoc a lobaip, 

hill of the leper. 


cill phainble, 

Fainle's church. 


cnocaloca, . 

hill of the loughs. 

Knocknakillew, or 1 
Woodhill, . . f 

cnoc na coilleao, . 

hill of the wood. 


leic ceacparh, 

half quarter. 

Lislea, . 

liop liac, 

grey fort. 

Lisnagore, . 

lior na nsabap, 

fort of the goats. 

Meelick (Park), . 


a holm. 


rnuiQ- poip, 

plain of the wood or point. 

Quarryfield, . 

Rinnarogue, . 


point of the rout or defeat. 

Shancarrigeen, or \ 
Oldrock, . . ) 

pean cappaisfn, 

old little rock. 


Abbey ville, or Ard- \ 
laherty, . . J 

apt) placapcaig, . 

Flaherty's height or hill. 


beuploc, and b6up 


(meaning uncertain). 


bep beip, 

Binganagh, . 

beangdnac, . . | 

abounding in boughs, branches 
or scions. 

Bunnamuck, . 

bun na muice, 

bottom land of the pig. 


cappaic paca muilin, 

rock of the rath of the mill. 


cluain a cealcpaig, 

lawn or meadow of the old burial- 



cluain bdnan, . 

Banan's lawn or meadow. 


cltjam a c-eanbaile, 

lawn or meadow of the old town. 


tmbcluanac, . 

black meadow land. 

Drumaneel, . 

bpuim an aoil, 
pion apcluin, . 

ridge of the lime, 
white hollow or angle. 

Kilsallagh, . 

coillpalach, . 

dirty wood. 

Kilty teige, 

coillci&e cai&s, 

Teige' s woods. 


cnoc a neacaip, 
cnoc a cpiUio, 

hill of the goat, 
hill of the dropping or trickling. 


cnocbpeac, . 

speckled hill. 


cnoc gpaine, . 
cnoc na nsabap, 
liop conabuioe, 
liop cupaip, . 

Grainne's hill, 
hill of the goats. 
Conway's fort, 
hill of the pilgrimage. 

Rooskybeg, . 
Sralea, . 

pupcaio" beas, 
ptjrcaig m6p, 
pnuigin, . 

little moor or marsh, 
great moor or marsh, 
meaning uncertain, 
grey holm or strath. 

Tawnalion, . 

carhna liaoam, 

Lyon's field. 



Ordnance Survey Name. 

Irish Name. 



Ardconnell, . 

dpb chonaill, . 

Connell's heigbt. 

Ardnaglass, . 

apt) na nslap, 

height or hill of the fetters. 


apb pfs, . ..'... 

hill of the king. 


bail' ui bpaondin, . 

O'Brenan's town. 


bail' an moca, 

town of the moat. 


camp op, . 

crooked point. 

Carrigans Lower, ) 
Do. Upper, . / 

cappaiseaca, . 


Carrowcauly, or 

cappaigm m6p, 
cappaig calbai<5, . 

great little rock. 
Calvagh's rock, or rock. 



ceacpam coipaclaio, 

quarter near the ditch. 

Carrowkeel, . 

ceacpam caol, 

narrow quarter. 


ceacpam neancaioe, 

quarter of the nettles. 

Carrownree, . 

ceacpam 'n pig, 

King's quarter. 

Cartron (Percival), 

capctin, . 

a cartron of land. 

Do. (Phibbs), . 

Cloonagun, . 

cluain na scon, 

lawn or meadow of the hounds. 


cluain na manac, . 

lawn or meadow of the monks. 

Cloonkeevy, . 

cltiain ciabuio", 

lawn or meadow of the long 



cltimin, . 

small lawn or meadow. 

Cluid, . 

baile na cluibe, 
cop cobaip, . 

town of the corner or angle, 
round hill of the well. 


boipe uan, 

wood of the lambs. 



holm or Inch. 

Emlaghfad, . 

eimleac paba, 

long holm or Inch. 


eimle giopdin, ' 

Gisan's holm. 

Emlaghnaghtan, . 

eimle neaccuin, 

Neachtan's holm. 

Keenaghan, . 


mossy land. 

Kilbrattan, . 

cill bpeacain, 

Bretan's church. 


cnoc a bdilcin, 

hill of the horseboy. 


leic ceacpam, 

half -quarter. 


liop an eanui5, 
liop an eanuig, 

fort of the marsh (little), 
do. (big). 


macaipe beul a 


plain of the ford of the stick. 


pope fnpe, 

port of the island. 

Rathdooneybeg, . 
Rathdooneymore, . 
Stoneparks, . 

pdic bunaig beas, . 
pdic bt5nai<5 m6p, . 
pdc na ceilige, 
pdipc cloice, anciently 

strong fort (little). 
do. (great). 
fort of the treachery. 

ceacpam na pag- 


caob buioe, . 

quarter of the priests, 
yellow side. 

Woodfield, . 

macaipe beul a' 

So called from a large oak which 


stood in the townland. It 

fell, and there was a passage 

(beul) under it. 



Ordnance Survey Name. 

Irish Name. 



Branchfield, . 

apb pei&, 

smooth hill or height. 


cluain na scaipeal, 

a plot of land, 
lawn of the cashels, or stone 



cluinfn, . 

a small lawn or meadow. 


cluain lops, . 

plain or lawn of the tracks. 



bumac beag, . 

small sand bank. 

Doomore, . . 1 

burhac rn6p, . 
baile an burhaicm6p, 
bun mi5fn, 

great sand bank, 
town of the great sand bunk. 
Migeen's fort. 



hard ground. 


bpum copmdic, 

Cormac's ridge. 


bpum pion, 

white ridge. 


cill cpaoibin, 

church of the little bush. 

Do. (Phibbs), 

Kilm organ, . 

cill mupcain, 

Morgan's church. 


cnoc maoineach, . 

wealthy hill. 


cnoc na gcpuach, . 

hill of the stacks or ricks. 


leacach, . 

hill side or land of flag-stones. 


liop bubasain, 

Dugan's fort. 


lus a caca, 

hollow of the ordure. 



cfp a pfg, 

the king's land. 


cuploc ui pafn, 

O'Rane's dried-up lough. 


Ardminnan, . 

apb cioptiin, . 
apb miondin, . 

Kieran's height or hill, 
hill of the kid. 


apb paicfn bes, 

hill of the ferns (little). 


apb paicfn m6p, 

Do. (big). 


aic cfge coilledin, . 

the site of Collin's house. 


bub cluanac, . 

black lawn, or meadow land. 


baile an cppucam, 

town of the streamlet. 

Ballonaghan, or j 
Harristown, j 

bail 6nacdin, . 

Onaghan's town. 


baile na cappaice, 

town of the rock. 

Bally nakillew, 

baile na coillfn, 

town of the little wood. 



a small rock. 

Cloonaraher, . 

cluain a pacaip, . 

lawn of the tillage. 

Clooncunny, . 

cluain conai<5, 

lawn of the fire- wood. 


cluain eineab, 

Heany's or Eithne's lawn or 


Coagh, . 


a cup, a hollow. 


boipe na nspds, 
bpuim an eapabaip, 
bpuim baibfn, 

oak-wood of the cackling, 
ridge of the corn. 
Devin's ridge, or long hill. 


bpuim pocla, . 

Rothla's ridge. 



a marsh or holm. 




Ordnance Survey Name. 

Irish Name. 




ceacparh piabac, . 

grey quarter. 


coill bepsdm m6p, 
cill dbuill, 

Deargan's wood (big), 
church of the apples, or orchard. 


coill a neit), . 

wood of the nest. 

Kilnaharry, . 
Kilshalvy, . 

coill na haiEpi<5e, . 
cill na pealbai$, 

wood of the penance. 
0' Shelly 's Church. 

Kiltycreen, . 

coill' cfoe cpton, 

withered woods. 


cnoc a cuipce, 

hill of the oats. 

Knockalass, . 

cnoc a' leap, . 

hill of the fort. 


cnoc an ime, . 

butter hill. 

Knockrawer, . 

cnocparhap, . 

thick hill. 


liop cfoc, 

forts of the udders (milking cows 



pailfp, . 

a fairy palace or fort. 

Rinn, . 


a division. 

T) 4. 

Spurtown (Duke), . 
Do. (Lower), 

bail' an ppuip 
bail' an ppuip foccap, 

town of the spur. 
Do. Lower. 



mountain fields. 


cariinac m6p, 

great fields. 



a rampart. 


Ballyfahy, . 

baile paicce, . 

town of the green. 

Bellanalack, . 

beul an dca leac, , 

mouth of the ford of the flags. 


btjrha beas, . 

small mound. 



full of yews. 


cill cop a, 

church of the boundary. 

Knockalass, . 

cnoc a' leapa, 

hill of the fort. 


cnoc gpdine, . 

Grace's hill. 


cnoc na ^aoice, 

hill of the wind. 


cnoc paihap, . 

thick hill. 



crooked cave. 

Kathbaun, North, . \ 
Do. South, . ) 

pac bdn, 

white fort. 


Ardsallagh, . 

apb palac, 

dirty height or hill. 

Ballinvoher, . 

bail' an bocaip, 

town of the road. 

Battlefield, . 

cluan cac, 

lawn or field of the battles. 

BellanascarrowEast, \ 
Do. West, J 

beul aca na pcaip- \ 
be, . . j 

mouth of the shallow ford. 


bpocap, bpocap, . 

meaning not understood . bp u c 


capn a maoilfn, 

means tender grass, 
earn of the round hill. 


cappaic pamna, 

allhallowtide rock. 



Ordnance Survey Name. 

Irish Name. 



Carro wcrory, 

ceacparii 'c puaibpf, 
ceacparii inic a lion - 

M'Rory's quarter. 

Carrownacreevy, . 
Cletty, . 

ceacparii na cpaoibe, 
ceacparii piabac, . 
cluain eac, 
cuppa bub and cup- } 

MacLenany's quarter, 
bushy quarter, 
grey quarter, 
a plume or quill, 
lawn or meadow of the horses, 
pit of the black mud or colour- 

pa bubaig, } 

ing stuff. 



9* cross* 


boipe na pceac, 
boipe gualac, 

oak wood of the briars or thorns, 
wood of the charcoal. 

Drumnagranshy, . 
Fallougher, . 

bpuim na spdinpig, 
pal luacpa, 

ridge of the grange, 
field of the rushes. 

Feenaghroe, . 
Graniamore, . 

pfobnac ni6p, 
pfobnac puab, 
gpdine m6p, . 

great woody tract, 
red woody tract, 
great grain. 


Spdine puao, . 

red grain. 


gpiandn, . 

sunny ground. 




cnoc a loca, . 

hill of the lake. 


cnocdn na cpoice, 
cnocan na puipebige, 

hillock of the gallows, 
bill of the lark. 


cnoc ui concubaip, 

0' Conor's hill. 


leac baile, 

half -town. 



a long hill. 


mfn m6p, 

great misk or field. 

Mullaghcor, . . j 

mullac cop or mul- \ 
lac cuppa, . . J 

odd or uneven summit. 



abounding in walls or mounds. 

Roscrib East, . ) 
Do. West .) 

popcpib, . 

point of the mire. 

Temple vanny, 

ceampull a riianaig, 

church of the monk. 

Tonaponra, . 

coin na p6npa, 

bottom land of the beans. 


cuaim ba bobap, . 

tumulus of the two deaf men. 

Treenmore, . 

cpian m6p, 

great third. 

Tully, . . . 

baile na culac, 

town of the hill. 


Ordnance Survey Name. 

Irish Name. 



aconpa, . 

Conary's field. 


baile an cuppaig, . 

town of the moor. 

Ballinvally, . 

baile an bealaig, . 

town of the road. 

BaUyara, or Falduff, 

baile ui ed^pa, 

O'Hara's town. 

Bally ara [Knox], . 



2 K 2 



Ordnance Survey Name. 

Irish Name. 



Ballyglass, . 

baile slap, 

green town. 


beul lacai<5, . 

mouth of the slough. 

Belra, . 


mouth of the fort. 


bun na cpanaca, 

foot of the cranagh, i. e. woody 
land or hill. 


capn in easpa, 

O'Hara's earn or pile of stones. 



rock land corran, a reaping 

Carrowclare, . 

ceacparii cappach, 
ceacparii an cldip, 

rugged quarter. [hook, 
quarter of the plane or level. 

Carrowkeel, . 

ceacparii caol, 

narrow quarter. 


ceacparii m6p, 

great quarter. 


ceacparii riiuipea&ai<5 

Murray's quarter. 

Carrownacreevy, . 

ceacparii na cpaoibe, 

quarter of the bush or wide 
branching tree. 


ceacparii na leice, j 

quarter of the flagstone, or 
flat rocky surface. 


ceacparii na bpuapan 

quarter of the cold springs or 


ceacparii an eabain, 

quarter of the brow or front. 


ceacparii ancpariia, 

sorrel quarter. 


ceacparii an cobaip, 

quarter of the well. 

Carrowreagh (Cooper) 

ceacparii piabach, 

grey quarter. 

Do. (Knox), 

ceacparii piabach, 



ceacparii paijillish, 

Eeilly's quarter. 


ceacparii riiuilcin, . 

"Wilkiu's quarter. 

Cashel North . ) 

Do. ' South,' . J 

caipeal, . 

a stone fort. 


caipeal luai&e, 

Lughaidh's stone fort. 


Cloonacool, . 

cluain na cula, . { 

lawn or meadow of the back, 
or angle. 

Cloonaraher, . 

cluain a pacaip, . 

lawn or plain of the tillage. 

Cloonarara, . 

cluain na pedpa, . j 

lawn or meadow of the black- 

Cloonbaniff, . 

cluain banb, . 

lawn or meadow of the young 

Clooncunny, . . 

cluain conaijj, 

lawn of the fire- wood. [pigs. 


cluain rjcpi heagpa, j 

lawn or meadow of the three 

Clooningan, . 

cluain ion5an, 

lawn of the nails or talons. 


cluain leariicoille, 

lawn of the elm wood. 



thick back. 

Corsallagh, . 


dirty hill or pit. 

Cully, . 





a habitation. 


cuppaca bunain, . 

the moor of the bittern. 

Curry, . 

cuppais, . 




little denies or oak woods. 


buriia ni6p, 

great mount or tumulus. 

Drumbaun . . 1 

bpum bdn, 

white ridge. 

Gortnadrass, . 

pio6-aill, . 
gopc na bpeap, 

wood precipice, 
field of the briars or brambles. 

Kilcummin, . 

cille cuimfn, . 

St. Cuimin's church. 

Knocknashee Com- } 

mon, . . . j 

cnoc na pi&e, 

hill of the fairies. 


Ordnance Survey Name. 

Irish Name. 




learn coill, 

elm wood. 

Leitrim, North, 


abounding in elms, 
grey ridge. 

Do. South, 

- , 

Lissaneagh, . 

liop an peice, 

fort of the raven. 


macaipe an oip, 

plain of the gold. 



boggy lands. 

Moylough, . . | 

maolac, . 

round hill of the horses, 
bald hill. 

Muckelty, . 


hill of the pigs, alca some- 


mullach an aeoaipe, 
mullac na bptiigne, 

times denotes 'woody glens.' 
hill- top of the shepherd, 
hill-top of the fatty fort, 
a round well in a rock. 

Oghambaun, . 

eocarn bdn, 

crooked white yew. 

Powellsborough, . 

from a family. 



land of holes or pit. 


pac rhac guppai^, . 

Magarry's fort. 


pac r-canlain, 

Scanlan's fort. 


pin ban, . 

white point of land. 



peipift comdin, 

Coman's sixth [division]. 

Sessuegarry, . 

Garry's do. do. 


Gilroy's do. do. 


baile an cpputain, 

town of the streamlet. 

Tobercurry, . 

caninaig btialrpac, 
cobap a 6oipe, 

mountain field of the cow-dung 
well of the caldron. 


cobap pcapbain, . 

well of the small cataract. 

Tobertelly, . 

cobap a cpeilift, 
culaig coipin beas, 

well of the dropping. 
Cushen's hill (little). 
Do. (big). 

Tullyhugh, . 
Tullyvellia, . 

culaig ao&a, . 
culaig bile, . 

Hugh's hill, 
hill of the aged tree. 


Abbeytown, . 


apt) coiceanca, 

hill of the commons. 

Billa, . 


an aged tree. 



cappaic na 5-cac, . 

rock of the cats. 

r / 

conaiG, . 

fire- wood. 

Cooney, . . j 


a dwelling or habitation. 


copcarhnacli, k 
cnoc a cuillin 

odd field or uneven field, 
hill of the holly. 

Glen, . . 

Sleafi, . , 

a valley. 

Half quarter, 


cill rholaipe, . 

St. Molaisse's chnrch. 


cill na manach, 

cl mrch of the monks. 


cinn na speillig, . 

head of the mire or slough. 

Knockmuldoney, . 

cnoc rhaolbornnaio, 

Muldowney's hill. 



Ordnance Survey Name 

Irish Name. 



Knoxspark, . 



a hillside. 


cnocdn napuipeose, 

hillock of the lark. 


liopbub, . 

black fort. 

Lugawarry, . 

lasa bap-pens, 

Barry's hollow. 

Lugnadeff'a, . 

lag na t>aibce, 

hollow of the caldron. 


las na nieacan, 

hollow of the parsnips. 


mullac na pi&e, 

summit of the fairy fort. 



a point of land. 

Stonehall, or ) 
Carrownageeragh, j 


quarter of the sheep. 


baile an cpprjcain, 

town of the streamlet. 

TuUaghan, . 


a hillock. 


Ballinvally, . 

baile an beallaig, 

town of the road or pass. 



bad land rubbish. 



a plot of land, 
a rock. 

Carrowclooneen, . 

ceacparii cltiainfn, 

quarter of the little lawn or 

Cairo wnabanny, . 

ceacparh gaibmn, . 
ceacparh na baini6, 

Smith's quarter. [meadow, 
quarter of the milk. 

Carrownacarrick, . 
Carrownacleigha, . 
Carrownagleragh, . 

ceacpam na cappaise 
ceacparh na cloice, 
ceacparh na scleip- 

quarter of the rock, 
quarter of the stone. 

CaiTownaskeagh, . 

each, . 
ceacparh na pgeach, 
ceacpam na t)-cao- 

quarter of the clergy, 
quarter of the briars or thorns, 
quarter of the little sides or 


sticks ; quarter of the ribbe- 

ries or side sticks. 

Carrownloughan, . 

ceacparh an letm, . 
ceacparh an locdin, 
cuil dinne, 

quarter of the leap, 
quarter of the pool. 
Aine's or Hannah's corner or 


t)fon p6t), 

bushy land. [angle, 
sheltered sod. 


5opc a caopcaifi, . 

field of the rowan trees. 

Half Quarter, or ) 
Curraghaniron, } 

cuppach an lapaifi, 

moor of the iron. 

Killoran North, . ) 

Do. South, . } 

cill o6pdin, 

St. Oran's Church. 

Knockadoo, . 

cnoc a'bvjrha, 

hill of the mound. 

Lissalough, , 

-mf 1 , 

cnoc a coicedin, . 
liop a loca. 

hill of the burning 
fort of the lake. 

Rathbarran, . 
Rathmactiernan, . 

maoftm loch, . 
pac bappain, . 
pac rhic cigeapnam, 
pac m6p, 

lake of the eruption. 
Barran's fort. 
Mac Tiernan's fort, 
great fort. 

Shancough, . 

pac eo&apa, . 
paoibinmor, . 
pean cuach, . 

Hosey's rath or fort, 
had island, 
old hollow. 



Ordnance Survey Name. 

Irish Name. 




eanach, . 

a marsh. 


bean paba, 

long hill. 



mouth of the ford of the plain, 

or board. 

Cams, . 


a heap of stones. 

Carrigeenagowna, . 

cappaism na nsan- 

a earn or rocky ground. 


little rock of the calves. 

Carrownagappul, . 

ceacpain na scap- 


the horses' quarter. 


ceacparh an lobain, 

the labourers' quarter. 

Castlerockor Castle- 

ceacparii piabach, 

grey quarter. 


caiplean cappac, . 

rough castle. 


clabach, . 

a stony beach. 

Cloonbarry, . 

cluan beappaig, . 

Barry's lawn or meadow. 


cluan caca, 

lawn or meadow of the battle. 


cluan sarhnach, 

lawn or meadow of the strippers 

or milch cows. 


cluan ui ouibfn, 

O'Diveen's lawn or meadow. 

Coolrecuill, . 

cu' pe coill, . 

back to the wood. 


cup pdic, 

round hill of the rath or fort. 


cpioc eapafn, 

land of the cataracts. 


cul bdlaiQ-, 

Daly's back or hill. 

Curraghboy, . 

cuppac buioe, 

yellow moor. 



point or promontory of the oxen. 



a small ridge. 


bpuun mdpcain, 

Martin's ridge. 



a low ridge of sandhills. 

Glennawoo, . 

gleann na bpuac, . 

glen of the images or spectres. 

Gortermon, . 

5Opc ap motn, 

field on the bog. 

Gortersluin, . 

50pc ap plain, 

field of the slates. 


cill lubaip, 

church of the yew. 

Kilmacteige, . 

cill 'ic cao&5, 

church of Mac Teige. 

Kincuillew, . 

cean coilleab, 

wood head. 


cnoc a coriinaig, 

hill of the fire -wood. 


cnoc bpeac, . 

speckled hill. 

Knocknasliggaun, . 

cnoc na pl^ean, . 

hill of the shells. 




Letterbrone, . 

leicip bp6in, 

hillside of the sorrow. 

Lislea, . 

liop lidc, 

grey fort. 


mm na 5cl6ipeach, 

misk of the clergy. 


mfn na mabab, 

misk or field of the dogs. 


uarhnac, . 

new habitation, 
abounding in caves, 
abounding in the herb rut. 


camnaig neillfn, . 

little Niall's field. 

Toberroddy, . 

cobap pobai<5, 
cuap lapcpam, . j 

Roddy's well, 
green field of the scorching or 


cullaca slap, 

green hills. 


culla na 5-0105, 
culla rhuai&e, 

hill of the bells, 
hill of the Moy. 



Ordnance Survey Name. 

Irish Name. 



Annaghbeg, . 

eanach beas, . 

small marsh. 


eanach m6p, . 
apt) cpaoi&e, . 

great marsh, 
hill of the fold. 

Ballynacarrow, N., 

baile rhuipea&ai5, . 
baile na capa, 

Murray's town, 
town of